This is a post a hike to Iwami Ginzan, the UNESCO World Heritage Silver Mines. Truth be told, we were already there–the silver mines stretch throughout the area and were in active use and points of contention between the warring Mori and Amago clans and otherwise, and they were so influential on the economy of the region that 16th century missionaries made sure to note it in their reports and it was included in early Western maps of Japan. At their peak, they accounted for 1/3 of the world’s silver production.

Recall Kotogahama and the Nima Sand Museum.

Sounds very cool, expect that most of the tunnels are out of sight what you can see is better seen in person, and seeing as photography is prohibited in the highly informative museum, I’m left primarily with photos from the hike. It was November, the leaves were changing, and the weather was perfect. Although most of the forest looked green, the red/orange/yellow trees stood out against the backdrop–trees or rocks–and looked especially bright in the sunlight.

There were a few restaurants offering locals the usual cafe items and local specialties, as well a few gift shops I haven’t run into elsewhere. For instance, a silver shop full of jewelry and other items, as well as a little shop specializing in fragrance pouches–priding itself on being the one place in all of Japan that sells metal-scented potpourri pouches.

Of course, this being the inaka, there was lots of inaka character to be found, from persimmons floating in the streams to… well… tanuki.

I’ll introduce my favorite of the little places in the next entry.