Global Programs Blog


Dameron Barron (JD '​20)
Legal and Internal Audit Department, Kobe Steel Group, Kobelco
Tokyo, Japan

Factory Tours

train rideDuring my first week in Japan, Fukuuchi-san and I went to visit some of Kobelco’s factories and to sightsee. We traveled to seven cities (Hiroshima, Kakogawa, Okubo, Kobe, Kyoto, Kobe, and Osaka) in the course of four days by Shinkansen or “bullet train.” It was tiring but completely worth it.

Our first stop was to the Kobelco main excavator factory, Itsukaichi factory in Hiroshima.

Although this was a factory for the development of medium-to-large-sized hydraulic excavators, I was surprised by how the workers were able to maintain such a clean workspace.

We were given a tour of the facilities by a very knowledgeable employee. She emphasized the importance of organization within the factory.

After the factory visit, Fukuuchi-san and I went to Itsukushima Shrine on Miyajima Island. The shrine is known around the world because during the high tide it appears to be floating on the water. Although we were there during the low tide, it did not take away from the shrine’s beauty.

That evening, we arrived in Kobe and met the members of the Kobelco legal department in Kobe. Everyone there was very nice and seemed to be hard at work.

The next day, we went to Kakogawa to visit Kakogawa Works. We were greeted by Osaki-san and received a brief introduction on the inter-workings of the steel works factory. I learned that Kakogawa Works was built completely on a man-made island.

Before taking off on the tour, we were handed gloves, a coat, and a hard hat. We were able to witness the process of manufacturing iron and steel.

The process that goes into the creation of steel is extremely interesting. The level of heat the production of iron and steel requires is like nothing I have ever felt in my life.

mini cranesAfter the visit to Kakogawa Works, we went to the Okubo factory. The Okubo factory produces many of the cranes created by Kobelco.

Once we arrived at the factory, we were met by Saito-san and given a presentation on the crane production of Kobelco.

Once the presentation was completed, we were off to start the tour. Similar to the excavator factory in Hiroshima, the Okubo factory maintained a very clean and organized factory to maintain efficiency in the production of the cranes.

After the tour, Saito-san took us to the roof of the Okubo factory to get a view of the sea and all of Okubo. It was beyond beautiful and the perfect way to wrap up factory tours!

[Click on images to enlarge.]
hello kitty train
hard hat tours
Kobelco building
Kobelco tour
kobelco tour
night street
night walk
Stairs going down
train station