Iwami Ginzan World Heritage Center

Iwami Ginzan Day 1

From Okubo Mabu
to Chogin Coin Key Chain
Making Workshop and Traditional Dish

Dustin Kidd
Hannah Grace
Hannah GraceHannah's pointcommentary

Okubo Mabu is like no place I have ever been. First of all, the hike up the mountain is gorgeous. Then when you enter the mine it’s like going into another world. That first step into the dripping mineshaft is like something out of a movie. You can actually see the places where the methods for mining silver changed in different eras. There is something awe-inspiring to see the large caverns carved out by human hands. Just be careful of bats! To go from that to an extravagant meal, prepared with local ingredients, then a long restful sleep in a soft bed was a perfect day!

Iwami Ginzan Day 1

Okubo Mabu

You have to dress warmly and wear safety equipment in Okubo Mabu. It’s huge and wet and a little wild.
Okubo was like another world. It was hard for me to imagine the life of the miners who spent their days climbing through the caverns with only their small lamps to light their way.

Okubo Mabu was another of the major active mining areas in Iwami Ginzan. Touring this one requires a reservation, and you will have to hike a bit through the mountains to get there. It’s guided all the way, so you have nothing to worry about there. The hike to the mine shaft is gorgeous, making the trip already worth it even before you go into the mine! Okubo Mabu is larger than Ryugenji Mabu, so if you plan on visiting both, I recommend going to Ryugenji Mabu first. There are remnants of older and more modern mining technology inside, and you may even run into some bats, if you’re lucky!

Dustin KiddDustin Kidd
Unlike Ryugenji, you need a guide to enter Okubo Mine. But, tour groups are taken at regular times. Our guide showed us all sorts of cool features and taught us about the mine’s history.
Iwami Ginzan Day 1

Chogin Coin Key Chain
Making Workshop

I got to take a little piece of the silver mines with me at the Chogin Coin Key Chain making workshop at the Cultural Center! Of course our key chains didn’t have real silver, but we did get to pour the molten metal into the mold! It’s actually quite dangerous if you don’t follow the instructions exactly!
My pendant was a little fat on one side! I was worried I wouldn’t get it on the keychain! But the instructor helped me file it down. Now I have a handmade token of my time in the mines!

For those of you who want to have more “hands-on” experiences in your travels, there are some fun activities you can take part in at the World Heritage Center, One of those is the Chogin Coin Key Chain Making Workshop. “Chogin” is a type of silver coin that was used in Japan until the mid-19th century. You can see how silver would have been melted down for casting, and although your keychain won’t be made of actual silver, it will be a fun memento of your visit. You can also try your hand at panning for actual silver as well!

Dustin KiddDustin Kidd
Iwami Ginzan Day 1
Japanese hotel


After a long exciting day I was definitely happy to reach the Japanese hotel Yuzuriha. It’s location is gorgeous, settled on a quiet streets with the mountains surrounding you on all sides.
At night you can go out and see every star! The rooms were much bigger than I expected, and the beds were super comfy. After all that hiking I slept like a log!
Yuzuriha has a restaurant attached, just across the little road. They offer a large traditional Japanese course meal, with local fish and produce. It was a feast!

After a long first day, we stayed at Yuzuriha, a very nice hotel at the edge of town. My room was spacious and very relaxing. It’s a great place to stay as long as it works within your budget. We also had a tasty dinner of local dishes with some delicious local sake as well. I’m pretty sure I fell asleep the second my head hit the pillow.

Dustin KiddDustin Kidd
There’s nothing like a nice cup of chilled sake to end an evening. Dustin and I enjoyed chatting about all the experiences we had that day. It was a perfect ending to day one.