Iwami Ginzan

Iwami Silver Mine - Iwami Ginzan Silver Mine

Useful Information

Location: Omori, Ohda City in Shimane Prefecture
Classification:  Silver Mine
Light: electric.
Dimension: L=600m, T=16°C.
Guided tours: L=172m, V=710.000/a [2007].
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.
Last update:$Date: 2015/08/30 21:56:25 $


1526mine opened by Jutei Kamiya, a wealthy merchant from Hakata in Kitakyushu.
1533silver refining technology called haibuki introduced.
1715Ryugenji Mabu built.
1923mine closed.
1943Ryugenji Mabu closed.
1969became a National Designated Historical Site.
1987the area became a national preservation area of important traditional buildings.
2001submitted for the UNESCO WHL.
JUN-2007enclosed into UNESCO WHL.



The Iwami Silver Mine is an important silver mine of Japan, and was probably the most important siver mine during the 16th century. During the first half of the 17th century it produced about 38 tons per year. This was the majority of the silver produced in Japan. At this time Japan produced one third of the worlds silver. Japan was called the Silver Archipelago by the Spanish. And silver had a central role in East Asian trade, as it was used as a international key currency. The mine produced silver coins, which were actually oval shaped silver plates with inscriptions called chogin.

The whole area with many mining related locations is protected today. Beneath above ground building, furnaces and harbours, there are several mine tunnels which were excavated and one is now open to the public. It is named Ryugenji Mabu.

The mining area with several historic sites was inscribed into the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2007 unter the name Iwami Ginzan Silver Mine and its Cultural Landscape. It was the 14th World Heritage Site in Japan and the first mining site in Asia on the list.

See also

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