The excavation site of “The Edo Gold Mine Picture Scroll” faithfully recreated via dolls
In the Edo Gold Mine Picture Scroll/Sodayu Course, you can sightsee through the tunnels manually dug out during the early Edo Era. Life-sized dolls are arranged along the genuine tunnels which faithfully recreate the scenes based on the historical record known as “The Sado Gold Mine Picture Scroll”. 12 tunnels are divided according to different scenes with each presenting a certain work process. The work in the mine from those days are displayed in an easily understandable way via the tunnels dug out like an ant’s nest that are used to search for an ore vein, the heavy manual labor under harsh conditions, and the customs and manners of the Edo Era miners. You can come across the progress of digging through high technology of the day such as compass surveying equipment used for measurements 400 years ago. The Shinto ritual of the Yawaragi Festival, a custom born from working in the mine, is recreated as a celebration of finding an ore vein within the rock wall. The ritual was performed to appease the mountain gods and to pray for a softening of the vein as well as for safety and prosperity. The tour through the tunnels takes around 30 minutes. Since the temperature inside hovers around 10℃ even in the summer, long sleeves and outerwear are recommended.
Try grabbing for the gold bar valued currently at 60 million yen!
There are exhibition rooms once you come out of the tunnels. In the first room, the process of minting money through the transportation of the ore following mining, separating and smelting is introduced via an elaborate diorama using dolls. In the second room, actual minted former gold coins are displayed along with items such as a map of the ore veins of the gold mine. But the popular thing is trying to grab the 60 million yen gold bar. The game involves putting your hand through a hole of limited size and pulling out the bar. You can touch the bar which is 99.9% pure and weighs 12.5kg, and get a true sense of the weight of the real thing. The entire tour including the tunnels and the exhibition rooms takes 60 minutes.