Iwami Ginzan opened in 1526, and for around 400 years was an active mine.
It flourished between 1500 and 1700, and was fought over by many rulers in the area. It came under strict control around the end of the Tokugawa Shogunate.
At one period, Japan produced a third of the world’s silver, and most of this was mined by the 200,000 miners at Iwami Ginzan.
Silver from Iwami was exported overseas, and it played a large role in supporting trade between Europe and Asia.
The area around the mine was designated as a World Heritage Site in 2008.
Around the mine are merchant and samurai houses which date back to the time when the mine was active.
You can enjoy the old town atmosphere and also visit some of the shrines and temples, and other interesting spots.
One shrine worth particular mention is Kigami Shrine, where you can see an elaborate ceiling painting of a dragon, that is said to make a ringing noise when visitors clap their hands when offering a prayer.
There are also a number of cafes, restaurants, souvenir stores, and a number of shops selling silver jewelry.
The area is now a popular tourist site.
Bicycles are available to rent and can be reserved at the tourist information office in front of the bus stop. It is also advisable that you get a map with the spots to visit in the area here.
Getting There: Take the bus from JR Nima Station bound for Omori Daikansho. (15 minutes)
There are two buses in the morning, and three in the afternoon.
From JR Oda Station the bus to Omori Daikansho takes around 30 minutes, and there are one or two buses every hour.