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Irontown (タタラ場, Tataraba, lit. "tatara furnace ground") is a small settlement featured in Princess Mononoke and is one of the primary settings of the film. Ruled by Lady Eboshi, it is protected by a lake on one side and high walls surrounding its entirety.


Lady Eboshi's militarism has resulted in an ideological clash with the rulers of the neighboring forest, resulting in San's repeated assassination attempts on her. Ashitaka arrives in town in the middle of this conflict and becomes fairly popular while working to help settle the dispute.

Eventually, Irontown is destroyed by the Nightwalker. However Ashitaka goes back to Irontown with the rest of the people and helps them rebuild it. He decides to live there too so that he is able to visit San.



Irontown interior


The mining.

The Irontown is a fortress, where drovers are essential for food supply. They also carry ore from the mining to the fortress, where women use pair of bellows to pour iron. The blacksmiths forge rifles and cannons out of iron. The Irontown has many enemies, because Lady Eboshi rip off the Cedar Forest for resources and she became powerful due to her gun power. To fight the enemies on day and night, Irontown Guardians patrol on the wall.

Many inhabitants were prostitutes or discards[1]. Lady Eboshi gave them a living and a workplace. She saved many lives from starvation and disgrace. So the people in the Irontown respect her for helping homeless people. They will risk their life to protect Lady Eboshi by any means[2]. There weren't any children in Irontown during the events in the film because Irontown was relatively a new social group with many social affairs.[3]

When Ashitaka visits the fortress, the inhabitants are curious, and they badly want to see him because not many strangers visited the town[4]. They are very friendly to Ashitaka, when they learn he saved two men from their town. Normally they distrust strangers, especially Lord Asano, who attacks Irontown.


Mononoke Weaponary

Pole weapons.

Beside rifles and cannons the people of Irontown use naginata, a Japanese pole weapon. The naginata, in the right hands, is as lethal as the samurai sword katana. The weapon is widely used by women. Skillful women know how to take distance from their manly opponents, who are physically stronger than them.


Lady Eboshi's lepers, covered in bandages.

Secret Garden[]

Mononoke - Garden

The Secret Garden.

The Secret Garden is an isolated place within Irontown owned by Lady Eboshi, which the town's people do not dare to enter. In this area, Lady Eboshi's "lepers" (blacksmiths) forge weapons, such as proto-type guns which Lady Eboshi oversees and judges. The lepers, people who suffer from leprosy, are outcast from society due to their appearance and disease. Eboshi was driven by her compassion for the disabled, and believed that blood from the Great Forest Spirit could allow her to "cure [her] poor lepers", hence when she took them in, as they had no other place to live. The lepers sleep, work and live in the Secret Garden, wearing bandages all over their bodies.


  • Irontown was based on Sugaya-Takadono (菅谷高殿) in Shimane Prefecture.[3]
  • Tatara and Daidarabotchi are somewhat connected in mythology.
  • Tatara was actually a Nyonin Kinsei, and letting women to work there is a part of Eboshi's plan to reshape the society.


  1. NAPIER, Susan J (2005): Anime from Akira to Howl's moving Castle. Experiencing Contemporary Japanese Animation. Updated Version. New York: Palgrave Macmillon, 232-234
  2. Princess Mononoke, Manga, Volume 1, page 115 cc.
  3. 3.0 3.1 『もののけ姫』たたらばの場所はどこ?子供がいない理由や歌の意味を徹底解説!
  4. Princess Mononoke, Manga, Volume 1, page 103