Ashio copper mine
The Ashio Copper Mine lies in the the Ashio area in Nikko and is listed as a National Historic Site of Japan as the "Former Ashio Copper Mine Site.” In 1610, two farmers discovered copper here and mining started in full swing, though the mines have reached their peak output. For a long time, Ashio supported the financial affairs of the shogunate as Japan's largest mine city. The city was also called "Ashio Sengen" meaning "1000 residents of Ashio" and the city was very lively at the time. However, due to serious pollution problems, the mountains were sealed off in 1973, closing the curtain on the mining industry here. The tunnel dug there is almost 1,200 kilometers long, about the same distance from Tokyo to Hakata. Part of the mine has been converted into a tourist attraction, and it is possible to go about 700 meters into the tunnel by trolley train. Strict labor conditions at the time have been depicted through a life-size doll diorama, and you can understand not only the history but also the burden of excavation work.
There are sites of railroad tracks that became obsolete and a red rusty refinery that you would only see in movies. It is a place where you can see the foundation of the rich industrial economy that built an era.
9-2, Ashiomachi Tsudo, Nikko-shi, Tochigi, Japan
9:00 ~ 16:30
Open Year Round
Adults 820 yen, Elementary and Junior High School Students 410 yen
53 minutes by city bus from JR Nikko Station or Tobu Nikko Station, get off at (Kouzan Kanko Mae) stop, 5 minute walk from stop
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