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Iwami Ginzan Silver Mine

A UNESCO-recognized piece of industrial history, where you can explore the old mining culture of Shimane.

In the mountains near Oda City, you’ll find this piece of industrial heritage which provided wealth for the people of Shimane for four centuries after it was founded in the early 1500s. Much of the mine shafts and buildings remain, and they can be explored on a tour which outlines the history, technology, and geology of the mine.

All of that is explored through a variety of exhibits, featuring original equipment, replicas, and film recreations. Thankfully, English and other foreign language explanations are available from audio guides, which cost just 500 yen to rent.

The mine is actually listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, for the mine itself and the whole culture surrounding it. In Omori Town, you’ll find centuries-old houses, and interesting museums, which explore how the mine brought prosperity to the area.

Heading out along the forest hiking trails also reveals some echoes of the bustling mining days, with the collapsed entrances to mine shafts, and the ruins of the old refinery. Nowadays most of what remains is covered in moss and lichen, as nature reclaims the site.

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