Iwami Ginzan World Heritage Center

Iwami Ginzan Day 2

From Townscape of
Omori District
to 500 Arhats

Dustin Kidd
Hannah Grace
Hannah GraceHannah's pointcommentary

Personally, I love historic Japanese shopping streets, and Omori may be one of the most delightful I’ve visited. You can see the mountains surrounding the small city, and it feels like stepping back in time. There are so many shops, restaurants, and interesting locations to visit. Dustin took me on a tour of a Samurai house, where you can get a taste for that ancient lifestyle. The 500 Arhats shrine is the kind of place that you have to see in person to understand. Pictures do not do justice to what it feels like to walk into that dark cave and see all those statues looking back at you. I could have spent days just exploring all the interesting sights of Omori.

Iwami Ginzan Day 2

Townscape of Omori District

I loved the Samurai house. Each room was decorated and set up to represent how the people there would have lived. The massive kitchen even had pretend food on the table, and the maid’s room to the side had pictures of famous actors! It’s funny how some things never change.
Dustin took me to a shop that sold traditional baked “miner’s snacks.” Food that they would have eaten in the mines. They looked like triangle crackers with a dusting of brown powder, and they tasted like crunchy graham crackers.
The Omori people have preserved the historical architecture of the town. If you’re looking for places to take scenic selfies, Omori is ideal. There are so many beautiful locations tucked away in all the corners.

Omori prospered along with the mine, and the townscape still shows hints of what the town was like when the mine was booming. There are old samurai houses that are now open to the public for viewing, and you can gain some insight into what life must have been like for them. There are temples and shrines tucked away in different areas, and one of those is on top of a hill that gives you a panoramic view of the town. Enjoy a trip through time as you walk along Omori’s main street.

Dustin KiddDustin Kidd
Iwami Ginzan Day 2

500 Arhats

There are two caves that each have over 200 statues. Dustin explained that there are actually 501 statues total, each with a unique expression.
The bridges that cross the small moat are like something out of a fairy tale. From the outside the temple looks like the home of a mythical creature carved into the side of the mountain. It’s another spot that’s great to take pictures!

There is a temple on the south side of Omori Town called Rakan-ji Temple. Across the street from the temple is a series of caves cut into the hillside, and inside those caves are the 500 Arhats. An arhat is a person who is on the path to, or who has achieved, enlightenment. Each of the statues in these caves has a different expression on its face, and the belief is that one of them looks like a loved one who has passed away. Being inside these caves has protected them from the elements, and they are in amazingly good condition. It’s a very calming and peaceful experience, one definitely worth having.

Dustin KiddDustin Kidd
The Arhat temple is otherworldly. When you step out of the sunlight though the aged wooden doors and face the cavern full of the statues of monks it’s literally breathtaking. The temple is just across the small moat from a simple street that runs through the town. But when you step into the caves housing the idols it’s like leaving the modern world behind.