Ryūgenji Mabu Shaft

Western Honshū

This tunnel into the silver mine has been widened substantially from its original size, and a guide helps bring it to life. One glance at the old tunnel, which stretches beyond the fence at the end of the accessible area, should make most people glad they weren't born as 17th-century miners.

Past the mine shaft, a hiking trail leads 12km to Yunotsu, following the old route along which silver was hauled to port.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Western Honshū attractions

1. Shimizudani Refinery Ruins

0.66 MILES

These stepped, stone remains of a silver-mine refinery, now delightfully overgrown with apricot trees and grass, have a pyramid-like appearance.

2. Rakan-ji


This touristy shrine is part of neighbouring Gohyakurakan, which contains 500 statues that were built to memorialise fallen silver-mine workers. Each…

4. Gohyakurakan

1.37 MILES

Crowded into two small caves at Gohyakurakan, there are 500 diminutive stone statues of the Buddha's disciples, each showing a different expression – some…

5. Kumagai Residence

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6. Iwami Ginzan Museum

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The Iwami Ginzan Museum contains various documents, tools and silver-related items. It's inside the Ōmori Daikansho Ato (council offices), near the…

7. Kigami-jinja

1.87 MILES

A shrine with a colourful dragon mural on its ceiling – to hear the dragon 'roar', stand underneath it and clap.

8. Izumo Cultural Heritage Museum

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This cultural museum in the beautifully restored former home of the lords of Izumo, the Ezumi clan, is worth a visit if only to stroll around the pretty…