A tunnel at Iwami Ginzan Silver Mine Photo: Shimane Prefectural Goverment/JNTO

What once was Japan's largest silver mine is now its most historic

By GaijinPot Travel

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.

An old-school vending machine at Iwami Ginzan Photo: Randiah Camille Green

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.

Click here to read more.

© GaijinPot Travel

©2020 GPlusMedia Inc.

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What you call the hard-working spirit of those days most of us would call horrendous and dangerous child labor that enriched owners and killed, maimed and exploited thousands of children from poor families.

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Some years ago I had a small silver ingot from the Iwami mine. It was a shapeless blob, a little larger than a silver dollar, which for some reason I gave to a friend, but through it I used to feel a strange affinity for the place.

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