The Tajima area, located on the northern side of Hyogo Prefecture, is home to famous hot spring towns like Kinosaki Onsen and Yumura Onsen, as well as beautiful views of the ocean and mountains. The area is easily accessible by rental car or train from the heart of Hyogo Prefecture, Kobe City (or Himeji City, where Himeji Castle is located). This time, I’ll be introducing a great spot in the mountains, the Japanese Heritage Site Ikuno Ginzan!

In the past, many countries used precious metals like silver and gold as currency in the place of money.Japan was one of those countries! Ikuno Ginzan, where I visited this time, is a facility where you can explore the tunnels that were once used to mine silver, as well as see mannequins showing the old mining process!

Ikuno Ginzan was first discovered around 1200 years ago. You can even feel how historic the area is at the entry gate!

Just a bit past the entry gate is the entrance to the mines. It looked almost like the sort of adventure I’d go on as a kid, so I was excited!

Once I stepped inside the tunnel, I was surprised at how deep it went! Apparently tourists can go an entire kilometer in! Walking through the tunnels for around 40 minutes certainly is a unique experience! (*゚O゚)ノ

The air in the tunnels was cold. Apparently the tunnels stay at about 13℃ year-round, so they feel cool in the summer and warm in the winter.

There are so many realistic mannequins inside the mine! They even are animatronic, moving with electric power! They help you understand the conditions of silver mining at the time very clearly.

By the way, apparently the mannequins have even formed an idol group to drum up PR! It really was kind of neat.

There are plenty of other things to enjoy at Ikuno Ginzan aside from just the exhibits, like experiences! You can pan for silver and gold (700 yen per person), pan for colorful natural stones (500 yen per person), make accessories out of silver (please contact the facility for details, including price), and more!

I decided to try the silver and gold panning experience! Bits of silver and gold are mixed in with the sand in the rivers and ocean near the mine. Apparently in the past they would use specialized tools to separate the valuable gold and silver from the sand. This experience lets you do exactly that!

I managed to find some silver and gold while picking up the techniques!

I’d highly recommend visiting Ikuno Ginzan, especially if you’re looking for adventure or if you want to bring kids along for an educational experience!

Address33-5 Ikunochokono, Asago City, Hyogo
AccessRental car is recommended. Approximately a 10-minute drive from Ikuno Station.
Business HoursApril through October 9:00am-5:30pm / November 9:00am-5:00pm / December through February 9:30am-4:30pm / March 9:30am-5:00pm
ClosedEvery Tuesday from December through February (or following day if the Tuesday falls on a holiday)
AdmissionAdults 900 yen, junior high and high school students 600 yen, elementary school students 400 yen, pre-school children free
URL(Japanese)OFFICIAL SITE

<Author's Introduction>
Katerina
Coming from Ukraine, she can also use Japanese, English, French, and Russian. Making good use of her linguistic abilities, she has traveled to over 40 countries so far. As a navigator on this site, she shares the attractions of Hyogo Prefecture.