Sado Mine

The remains of a once flourishing gold mine boasting Japan’s highest output, discovered during the Edo Era

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With Shogun (General) Ieyasu Tokugawa pushing forward the development of the mine during the Edo Era, it was said that Sado Mine financed the Edo government for 300 years due to the bountiful gold mined there. Currently, it is preserved as an industrial heritage.
Business Hours
Saturday ( 8:30 AM ~ 5:0 PM )
Sunday ( 8:30 AM ~ 5:0 PM )
Weekdays ( 8:30 AM ~ 5:0 PM )
1305 Shimoaikawa, Sado-shi, Niigata
(0259) 74-2389

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The mountain of gold and silver which financed the Edo shogunate

There was a gold rush in the town of Aikawa in the northwestern area of Sado Island in the 17th century. Mining of gold and silver proceeded under the control of the Edo shogunate, with the tunnel reaching a total length of 400km. The annual output reached a total of 400 kg of gold and 40t of silver at its peak from a mine that was said to be the largest in the world at that time. Those assets financed the Edo shogunate for 300 years, and the formerly poor town on the island attracted miners from all over the country which led to the population exceeding 50,000. On the other hand, due to the harsh work, there were a number of deaths, and the tombs have left a legacy of tragedy. The 390-year history of the gold mine ended in 1989 but even now, much of it has remained and it has been since opened to the public as a valuable historical site. There are also deeply impressive and fascinating areas such as the Doyu-no-Wareto, a historic site in the mine which was split into a V-shape for the purposes of the mining, and the gigantic former froth floatation site which has already been praised as a historic site even though it had been built in the 20th century.

A variety of courses to relate the history of Sado Mine

4 tour courses have been established at Sado Mine where you can learn about the history of the mine from various angles. There is the Doyuko Course where you can tour the tunnels and processing factories built for the development of the main vein during the age of modernization in the 19th century, the Souda Yuukou Course, a National Historic Site which was excavated in the Edo Era and is represented by figures of miners from those days, the Yamashi Course which is taken by flashlight through 400-year-old tunnels dug out by yamashi (prospectors) of the Edo Era (reservations are necessary), and the Sangyo Isan Course which tours by bus through the industrial legacy of the mine from the 19th century. All of the courses include a tour of the museum so that you can get a good understanding of the history of the mountain which was highlighted by the mining for gold and silver.

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