• Asia  >  Japan  >  Shimane  >  Oda

    The Iwami Ginzan was a silver mine in the city of Oda, Shimane Prefecture, on the main island of Honshū, Japan.It was the largest silver mine in Japanese history. It was active for almost four hundred years, since its discovery in 1526 until its eventual closing in 1923.It was added to the World Heritage List in 2007.
    Iwami Ginzan was one of the world's leading mines producing high-quality silver from 1526 to 1923. This mine is located over a wide area in the central region of Shimane Prefecture of the Chugoku Region. The silver excavated from this mine was exported to Europe via East Asia, and played a vital role in the East-West trade. It is said that approximately one third of the silver that was in circulation worldwide in the 16th Century was produced in this mine in Iwami. The great significance of the ancient remains of Iwami Ginzan Silver Mine lies in the fact that abundant traces of silver production from the mining sites to transportation routes have survived almost intact to this day.

    Such an extensive scale of production was made possible partly due to the refining technology known as the 'haifuki-ho' (cupellation method) which was introduced into Japan from the Korean Peninsula in 1533. In this method, silver ore and lead are melted into an alloyed metal, which is then placed on ash spread out in the furnace, and heated at a high temperature, with only silver extracted, for silver has the property not to oxidize easily. This advanced cupellation technique resulted in the successful extraction of large amount of silver; it spread nation wide from Iwami Ginzan Silver Mine, and led to the dramatic growth of Japan’s Yield of gold and silver.

    Another decisive factor in Iwami Ginzan's designation as a World Heritage is that the silver mine was set in an environment of abounding nature and that it co-existed side-by-side with this natural environment over a long period. The entire area of Iwami Ginzan, covered in rich forestland, is enveloped in an almost mystic air. This is the fruit of the efforts made by the people formerly working in the mine to fell only the required minimum amount of wood needed for the refining process and to replant trees there.

    The area surrounding Iwami Ginzan has retained the streetscapes of the countryside that cannot be found in cities, and you will find it most pleasant to leisurely stroll amid such landscapes. Iwami Ginzan spreads over a vast area, and depending on the course you take, you will come across some steep and rugged mountain paths.

    You will find it most worthwhile to visit and observe the shafts and galleries called 'mabu' which have been formed so like an ants' nest. Of the more than 500 shafts and galleries that had originally been dug, you can actually walk inside and observe part of the Ryugenji Mabu Mine Shaft which was built in 1715. Going through the entrance of the small tunnel located inside the forest, you will be able to get an image of the mining processes that used to be entirely performed manually. You will come out of the gallery by a different exit

  • Asia  >  Japan  >  Shizuoka

    The beauty of the solitary, often snow-capped, stratovolcano, known around the world as Mount Fuji, rising above villages and tree-fringed sea and lakes has long been the object of pilgrimages and inspired artists and poets. The inscribed property consists of 25 sites which reflect the essence of Fujisan’s sacred and artistic landscape. In the 12th century, Fujisan became the centre of training for ascetic Buddhism, which included Shinto elements. On the upper 1,500-metre tier of the 3,776m mountain, pilgrim routes and crater shrines have been inscribed alongside sites around the base of the mountain including Sengen-jinja shrines, Oshi lodging houses, and natural volcanic features such as lava tree moulds, lakes, springs and waterfalls, which are revered as sacred. Its representation in Japanese art goes back to the 11th century, but 19th century woodblock prints of views, including those from sand beaches with pine tree groves have made Fujisan an internationally recognized icon of Japan and have had a deep impact on the development of Western art.
    Recommended spots related to Mt. Fuji are here

  • Asia  >  Japan  >  Shizuoka  >  Izunokuni

    “Sites of Japan’s Meiji Industrial Revolution: Iron and Steel, Shipbuilding and Coal Mining” comprise a singular ensemble of industrial heritage sites that represent the first successful transfer of industrialization from the West to a non-Western nation.
    From the middle of the nineteenth century to the early twentieth century, Japan achieved rapid industrialization that was founded on the key industrial sectors of shipbuilding, iron and steel, and coal mining. The initial phase was one of trial and error experimentation in iron making and shipbuilding, based mostly on Western textbooks, and by copying examples of Western ships. This was followed by the more successful importation of Western technology and the expertise to operate it and, by the late Meiji period, full-blown industrialization through newly acquired domestic expertise and the active adaptation of Western technology to best suit Japanese needs and social traditions. This successful industrialization was achieved in just a little over 50 years without colonization, and on Japan’s own terms. The property is testimony to this unique phase in world history.
    Lost of 23 Components Parts are wrapped up here

  • Asia  >  Japan  >  Iwate  >  Nishiiwai District

    Historical sites, cultural attractions and over 3,000 national treasures. The culture of the 11th century has been preserved.

    Hiraizumi in the southwestern part of Iwate Prefecture is a town extending up the Hiraizumi Hill on the west bank of the Kitakami-gawa River, that prospered for almost 100 years from the 11th to 12th centuries as the center of the Tohoku region (the northeastern region). Over 3,000 national treasures and historical sites still remain, telling of the Fujiwara Clan that reigned over the area in the zenith of its prosperity. The splendid culture that appeared during the reign of the Fujiwaras lasted for three generations and has been preserved in the area to this day.

    The Konjiki-do of Chuson-ji Temple, built by the Fujiwaras, is decorated inside and out with lacquer containing gold foil and studded with gold and silver, a symbol of the gold culture of Hiraizumi. The historical artifacts and Buddhist statues found in the Konjiki-do are stored in the Sanko-zo storehouse and displayed to the public, reminding all who see them of the very high level of artistic achievement in these earlier times.

    The Motsu-ji Temple adjacent to the Chuson-ji Temple was built in the 9th century, but destroyed repeatedly by fire. The restored temple and garden around the Oizumi-ike Pond are reminiscent of what the temple and its environs would have looked like in those days.

    Many historical sites and buildings still remain around Hiraizumi, including the site of the Muryoko-in Temple, modeled after Byodo-in Temple in Uji, Kyoto, and the Takadachi-gikei-do Temple, which houses a wooden statue of the tragic samurai warrior Minamoto-no Yoshitsune.

    Hiraizumi City, Iwate prefecture

  • Asia  >  Japan  >  Gunma

    Tomioka Silk Mill
    Registered as a World Heritage Site in June, 2014
    Designated as a National Treasure in December, 2014 .
    omioka Silk Mill is the first model silk-reeling factory which Japanese government established in 1872. At the end of the Edo period of Japanese history, in the mid 19th century, Japan opened its doors to the world and in 1859 began to trade with Western countries. At that time, the most important Japanese export to the West was raw silk. However, because raw silk was produced by hand, insufficient quantity could be produced to meet export demand. Also, there were problems caused by the widespread availability of low-quality raw silk and the fact that some unscrupulous merchants falsified the quality to sell the silk at a higher price. The reputation of the Japanese raw silk had gone down.

    The Meiji government pursued a policy of promoting modern industry in order to stimulate the modernization of Japan and achieve equal status with Western countries. In order to raise funds for it, the government thought that export of raw silk would be most suitable.

    Then, the government decided to set up a model factory equipped with modern silk-reeling machines from Western countries to enable mass-production of high-quality raw silk and to train Japanese people in the techniques of machine-reeling and to become leaders in their home towns.