|Travel Reports by mfedley||view profile of mfedley|
|Note: The opinions and views expressed in this user report are those of the individual author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions and views of japan-guide.com.|
July 14, 2018 - Hidden Honshu: Iwami Ginzan
Iwami Ginzan is located in Shimane Prefecture and is home to a Silver Mine which at one stage produced around 1/3 of the world silver annually at the time. For today, I will be completing a walking tour of the mine and surrounding town to see what this location has to offer.
My first stop for the day was Kigami Shrine which is found at the foot of the mountain itself. Most people who have travelled Japan extensively will miss this spot - but I suggest you visit here as it's a bit different than normal.
Apart from being a shrine, it's also home to an interesting Dragon painting on the wall which makes a roaring sound when you clap your hands.
On some occasions I can be a little adventurous choosing food. For today I chose the special which consisted a cooked but cold fish which were preserved in a vinegar. Normally I would not eat this type of thing but it was actually quite delicious.
My next stop for the day was the Kawashima Residence which used to be a samurai home for the Omori Clan. It costs 500 yen to enter for locals or 300 yen with an ARC or Passport.
This home is quite large and consists of a reasonable amount of english translations. There is also a brochure which explains a bit more about the home as well for those who are interested.
The home also has some interesting artefacts such as this menu from a few hundred years ago. One of the items on the menu is Sashimi which was rare in the days due to the lack of refrigeration.
The home also has a storehouse which used to be used to make Sake - which is seen as an important job back in the day I guess.
The upstairs area of the residence also has rotating exhibits. At present they are looking at school lunches throughout the ages but unfortunately this is mainly in Japanese for obvious reasons.
My next stop was the Kawashima Residence which also used to be a Samurai home. It costs 200 yen for locals to enter or 100 yen for people with an ARC or Passport.
It should be noted that this residence is much smaller than the Kumagi Residence but it also has some interesting features which will be seen later in this post.
One thing that was interesting was these stairs which could be easily hidden. They go up to the second floor where a hidden room allows people to meet or stay if needed.
Just down the road is the newly refurbished Muneoka Residence which is free to enter but is not as interesting as some of the other locations in the town. Note there are also a few other residences which could have been entered that I have not included in this post due to time constraints.
For people who are interested, there is a Temple around a 5 minute walk from the main Tourist Centre which includes 500 Buddhas in caves. It aptly costs 500 yen to enter. I did not visit as there is only so much money a person can spend on entering different locations.
To get to the mine, it's a 45 minute (one way) walk slightly uphill. I made the mistake of not hiring a bike which almost everyone did on this extremely hot day. The walk was nice enough, but it was punishingly hot and I was time constrained as a result.
The Ginzan Mine costs 410 yen for locals to enter or 200 yen for people with an ARC or Passport. Note that this mine is not as interesting as the one on Sado but is was quite cool inside the mine which is something I was not complaining about.
Due to the fact that the mine was uphill, it was all downhill and much quicker to get back into town.
One quick side trip worth making your way back to town is to visit the Refinery Ruins. It only takes a few minutes and is quite steep to see how people used to work here.
Later in the day, I drove around 190 kilometers to Hagi which was quite a drive. Thankfully, there was a beautiful sunset which can be seen in the next few photos.
It's pretty fair to say that Iwami Ginzan is a beautiful town which has plenty to see. If I was to complete this day again in summer, I'd make sure to hire the electric bike which would allow me to see more of the town quicker. It's a shame that not that many people visit here, but it is quite difficult to get to compared to more frequented towns. For tomorrow, I'll be visiting Hagi Town which is one of the best and largest traditional towns in the country.
Iwami Ginzan World Heritage Centre: http://www.iwami-travelguide.com/?p=3163