Monday, August 22, 2022

Ginzan Kaido & Iwami Castle


Mid-January, 2013, early morning along the Shio River in Nima and the start of day 4 of my walk along the Iwami Kannon pilgrimage.

The next few temples on the pilgrimage are at  Iwami Ginzan, the World Heritage listed former silver mine in the mountains inland. The road I will take is now the fastest way to visit the mine, though it is not one of the two ginzan kaido, mine roads, that are part of the World Heritage site. There were many ginzan kaido radiating out from the silver mine as it was the most valuable silver mine in Japan in its heyday.

A couple of kilometers up the road and you pass a rocky outcropping with a couple of shrines at the base. On top of the 154 meter "mountain" is where Iwami castle stood.

A natural fortress, the Ouchi Clan built the original fortifications in the early 16th Century and it was taken over by the Mori Clan a few years later when they gained control of the mine.

After 1600 when the Tokugawa Shogunate took control of the mines and the surrounding lands the castle fell into disuse. The site is now one of the numerous sites that are World Heritage listed.

The red label on the map above shows the location of the castle. The grey-blue area is the silver mine, and the two routes are the ginzan kaido that are listed as World heritage sites.


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