Iwami Ginzan Silver Mine

A silver mine of 400 years. The World Heritage site including the town and the mountain itself.

It was registered as a Cultural World Heritage site in 2007. It was the 14th place selected in Japan and the first place in Asia to be selected for its heritage as a silver mine. The valuable industrial legacy and the nostalgic unspoiled Japanese landscape have continued to be preserved.
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Iwami Ginzan, I1597-3 Omoricho Oda-shi, Shimane
(0854) 89-0183


A silver mine kingdom that has even been illustrated in the maps of Middle Ages Europe

During the Age of Exploration in the 16th century, Japan was responsible for a third of the world’s production of silver, and most of that came from Iwami Ginzan. It was to the point that the mine showed up in world maps created in Europe at that time. One characteristic is that it existed side-by-side with the natural environment. That is an important point that has been praised as a World Heritage site.

An optimal tour through 2 courses starting from the central Iwami Ginzan Park

The heritage site is divided into the three areas of The Remains of Iwami Ginzan And Mining Town, The Highway, and The Port And Port Town. Since the area is extremely large, it’s good to take the 2 courses beginning from Iwami Ginzan Park in the center of the town which also has a tourist information office. At the north end of the park, the one-way 2.3km Silver Mine Course follows 2 walking trails (Silver Lanes) which sandwich the main route and the river. Along the main route, there is a temple, a silverworks shop, and a café among other facilities, and while enjoying the woods along the walking trails, you can view what remains of the Shimizu Refinery. The goal is Ryugenji Mabu. A mabu refers to the tunnel through which the silver is mined. At Iwami Ginzan, there are about 600 mabu of varying sizes but only Ryugenji and Okubo are open to the public (Okubo is only periodically open with the number of entrants restricted). Within its total length of 600m, sightseeing is restricted from the entrance to the 157-meter point. There are traces of fleas on the walls and the sight of the mining from those days is plainly evident. At the southern edge of Iwami Ginzan Park to your right, there is a townscape walking course which includes many valuable buildings such as the only open samurai residence of the Old Kawashima House as well as the merchant house, the House of the Kumagai Family. Just strolling is enjoyable when you come across cafes inside restored old houses and handmade accessories.

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