Quarrying of Oya stone as building material dates back to the Edo period (1603 - 1868). Farmers quarried stones that surfaced during farming period but it was only in the Meiji era (1868 - 1912) that the quarries became a substantial industry. Its shipment volume increased dramatically in accordance with the development of transportation methods, such as handcar railroads and railways as well as mechanization of quarrying. Large quantity of Oya stone was shipped not only to Utsunomiya but also to Tokyo and Yokohama, which became the base of urban development of modernizing Japan.
You can still see stonemasons’ stores standing along the highways, which were transformed from handcar railroads. The old public hall where stonemasons gathered also stands on the corner of the highway. Wholesalers worship “Mountain God” for each quarry and pray for the safety of quarry and the prosperity of the industry and the community.