Walking on Drift Ice
Designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2007, Iwami Ginzan was Japan’s largest silver mine. Producing silver of pristine quality for nearly four hundred years, it contributed greatly to Japan’s material wealth and influenced trade across East Asia and around the world. Though the mine was shuttered for good in 1923, to this day it stands as a remarkable window into Japan’s past and centuries of prosperity.
Visitors to Iwami Ginzan can learn first-hand about the unique properties of the silver produced here and the technology employed to mine it, then take a hike through the lush forests amidst ancient shrines and temples on the way to one of two mine shafts open to the public. Venture inside and be further transported back to a time when miners chiseled away in search of silver.
After touring the mines, enjoy a stroll through the charming streets of Omori, a historic mining town whose traditional architecture has been preserved to the present day. The elegant red-roofed structures that were once home to merchants and mine administrators now house museums, galleries, cafes and more, for a delightful juxtaposition of Japan’s past and present. English-speaking volunteer guides are available for your touring pleasure (reservation required).
About 90 minutes by car from Izumo Airport.
March to November: 8:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
December to February: 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
[Pay Exhibition Room]
March to November: 9:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
December to February: 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
(*No visitors admitted in the final thirty minutes prior to closing.)
General: 300 yen
Elementary and junior high students: 150 yen
(*Discounted to 250 yen and 100 yen, respectively, for groups of twenty or more.)
Address: 1597-3 I, Omori-cho, Ohda City, Shimane Prefecture, Japan
Airport: Izumo Airport