From Utsunomiya train station approximately 9 km to the northwest, coming out of the city as the hilly land and Mount Tagesan loom into sight, the scenery suddenly changes, surrounded by sharp sheer cliffs of craggy mountains and groups of strangely shaped light grey stones whose surfaces are entwined with vines. This is the Oya Stone district, Utsunomiya City, Oya area. About 15 million years ago a submarine volcano erupted, a huge stratum of tuff was formed, and is the source of the stone culture.
When people laid eyes on these craggy mountains of tuff, they started living together with the rocks in this area.
A long time ago, in the Jomon Era, people lived in the caves in these rocky mountains; in the Tumulus Era, horizontal caves were dug out and used as tombs. In Nara and in the Heian Period, Japan's oldest stone Buddhist image, the Kannon of Oya, was carved onto the surface of a cave becoming a site of worship. The people of Utsunomiya were blessed by the vast amounts of stone, and during the long passing of time their prayers, wishes, and the town itself were carved into this stone.