Thursday, September 27, 2007

UNESCO World Heritage Site in Shimane Pref.

Last week the wife and I ditched the dog (dog hotel, people!) and went
to Shimane prefecture at the start of last week. She'd been up on
business in July (and a typhoon) to Matsue and was excited by the town
and area. At the time the locally known site, Iwami Ginzan Kozan, was
being considered for inclusion on the UNESCO World Heritage List. We
spent the night in Matsue, touring the castle and the Lafcadio Hearn
museum and former residence across the street.
Below: Matsue-Jo (Castle)

In the morning we trucked off to Iwami Ginzan
<> itself. Although it's about a 90min
to 2hrs to drive from Matsue, we got there without any real trouble.
The area around Iwami Ginzan is quite beautiful. Surrounded by forested
hills, the site runs from the Iwami Ginzan village about 2 km along a
small stream to the old entrance of the mine shaft. (koudou in Japanese;
mabu in the local parlance) . The mineshaft has been shored up and
expanded a bit from when it was shut down in the early part of the last
century, lighting and some minor signage (in Japanese only - now that
it's on the UNESCO list, English ) added.
Old refining ruins, temples and castle bits and pieces dot the walk back
down from the mine shaft area which leads back to a small village with a
large number of old style buildings, although some of the more historic
may be in need of a serious bit of Polyfilla and a lick of paint.
In a year or so, after new signage, parking and access improvements it
will be a captivating place to visit. It was fascinating enough now.

The Eternal Gaijin
Lost Somewhere in Kobe, Japan
"Words Cannot Describe What I Am About To Tell You."

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