Through the old streets of 大森町 [ōmori district]
Word Heritage listed, Iwami Ginzan Silver Mine [石見銀山] is located at the centre of ōmori town, ōda city, Shimane prefecture. Iwami Ginzan Silver mine was first discovered in early 15th century by a merchant from Kyūshū by the name of Kamiya Jutei, and flourished as one of Japans leading mining sites for 400 years. For some 100 years during the feudal Edo Period (江戸時代 Edo jidai), or Tokugawa period (徳川時代 Tokugawa jidai) is the period between 1603 to 1868 in the history of Japan when Japanese society was under the rule of the Tokugawa shogunate and the country’s 300 regional Daimyo,
Large quantities of silver ore was extracted from the mine, and silver was used by the ōuchi, Mōri, and Amago clans to fund their battles during the warring states period. It reached its peak production in the early 17th century of approximately 38 tons of silver a year which was then one third of the world’s production.
To explore ōmori town including the mine shaft by foot may take 1-2 hours by foot and is also dependent on your interests. But I suggest you hire an electric bike, especially if you have kids! I really like the old buildings and samurai residences of the ōmori district [大森町]. Here you can see and feel the history of the people who managed the silver mine dating back in the feudal Edo period. There are shops offering hand made crafts and goods, and rustic tea houses and cafes for those seeking a place to rest from all the walking and sightseeing. You’ll enjoy the rustic decorations and atmosphere of these tea houses have to offer.
The weather report predicted some snow and rain for the day, but during our very short time there the sun showed it’s warm face, but it was not enough warmth to stop the chill if the wind.
We zoomed through the streets and stopping to take a snap here and there before reaching the Ryūgenji Mabu Mine Shaft. We were very glad that we hired the bikes because it was all up hill and the electric motor on these bikes made it feel like it was down hill. There are approximately 600 mine shafts all over the area, but the only one that is safe to enter is the Ryūgenji Mabu mine shaft. (Mabu means tunnell in Japanese). The mine shaft is a short 160 meters for visitors to feel the conditions of how tight it was for those digging. The shaft does go deeper but it is closed off for safety reasons. The electic bulb was not invented, so the only lighting they had back then was a fragile light on a candle stick. Most of the miners were as young as 15 and Due to the air quality in these mines most didnt live to the age of 30. But when one does reach the age of 30 a special celebratory meal is usually arranged for them.
An interesting fact for you: the surname Iwami originated from here, so if you ever come across a japanese person with the surname Iwami written as 石見, then you know that there family treet originated back to this location. Iwami [石見] broken down; Iwa 石 means stone and Mi 見 means see, but this mi also came from the word migoto 見事 meaning beautiful, impressive, superb, maginificent.
Once you reach the end of the mine shaft you will come across this little store selling scented pouches.
The pouches are stuffed with these twigs… And lasts a very long time and also keeps bugs@ and insects away. They smell very nice and we picked up a couple.
He also has one of these… Can you guess what it is?
Finally i set the RX1 in black and white mode to test it out, and took a photo of the merchant.