During the 17th century, a third of the world’s silver was produced in the small town of Omori in Shimane Prefecture. In fact, the town was home to the largest silver mine in Japan’s long history– Iwami Ginzan. Closed down in the 1920s, the skeletons of Iwami Ginzan Silver Mine remain, waiting to be explored by those seeking a quiet reprieve and who aren’t scared of small, dark spaces.
The impressive construction of the mine shafts speaks to the hard working Japanese spirit of those days. Many of them were initially dug by hand by workers as young as 10 years old.
Iwami Ginzan sits within the historical city of Oda which encompasses not only Omori, but the old-school bathing town Yunotsu Onsen as well. Collectively, the area was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2007– dubbed as “Iwami Ginzan Silver Mine and its Cultural Landscape.”
Though known for its silver-rich history, the real jewel of this place is the rustic aesthetic of Omori Street which is lined with traditional houses that have been converted into cozy cafes and shops. Take a stroll through history, explore an underground mine shaft and don’t forget to stop at the charming German bakery.
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