Sado Kinzan – Sado, Japan - Atlas Obscura
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Sado, Japan

Sado Kinzan

For centuries, this gold mine was the powerhouse behind the Tokugawa Shogunate.  

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While the museum attached to the Sado Kinzan is interesting, the real experience here is taking the self-guided tour through the old Edo Period tunnel.

There’s nothing like walking through the dark tunnels and coming across a life-sized, animatronic miner peering out at you from the shadows. While you get adjusted to the robotic miners as you proceed along the course, the first encounter gives a delightful frisson that has nothing to do with the cool temperature of the caves.

The toiling “miners” really show how difficult and back-breaking the labor was, however, some of the best displays recreate festivals and rituals performed during the Edo Period.

If you need a pick-me-up once you are back in the light, the gift shop sells ice cream with gold flakes, to get a taste of the gleaming mineral.

Know Before You Go

Although there are buses that take you close to Sado Kinzan, the easiest way to get there is by car. It's a 45-minute drive from Ryotsu Port.

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