Sado Island – Day 2(a)

Sado Kinzan Gold Mine
On the hunt for some gold and silver mining heritage by visiting the national heritage site on Sado Island.

Sado Kinzan Gold Mine

Sado Kinzan was the most productive mine in Japan, annually producing nearly 400 kg of gold as well as smaller amounts of silver and copper. The mine was in operation throughout the Edo Period and served as a major source of funding for the Tokugawa Shogunate which directly controlled Sado Island and its mines.- Japan Guide

Sado Kinzan Gold Mine
There were 2 routes to choose from, we chose the Edo period mine course since it would be more educational to see they managed the mine way back before industrialization. From the picture, you can observe that they dug really deep and extensively.

Sado Kinzan Gold Mine
It was a cool 10c degrees inside the mine while it was a sweltering 36c degrees outside. It was very much a cool relief from the heat.

Sado Kinzan Gold Mine
Digging through to create pits for mining.

Sado Kinzan Gold Mine
Drainage become really important as they dug further, hence plumbing workers were very well paid.

Sado Kinzan Gold Mine
Working on the drainage system.

Sado Kinzan Gold Mine
Checkpoint for the workers as they moved the ore out, this is to prevent smuggling and also a reference point for payment as they are paid on how much they dug.

Sado Kinzan Gold Mine
Only the specialized miners who worked on the difficult areas were paid better, worked in 4 hours shift with a proper rest area.

Sado Kinzan Gold Mine
The specialized miners working with the tiny chisels to get the ore, the chisels usually worn out in 2 days.

Sado Kinzan Gold Mine
The black stripes at the back are when they hit an area with high density of silver and gold, a praying session would be in place where they pray that the ore would be soft enough for quick retrieval.

Sado Kinzan Gold Mine
End of our tour, and back to the summer heat

Sado Kinzan Gold Mine
Then we spent some time in the exhibition hall, looking at models of life outside the mine where the families lives and how they cleaned the ores. A challenge area is also setup where if you can pick up this 12.5kg gold bar with one hand through the glass hole, you would be rewarded with a certificate (No, you can’t take the gold bar with you). Only 1957 persons have succeeded so far over the past 20 years. 😛

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