Placer Gold Mine
The Nishimikawa Placer Gold Mine is Sado’s oldest placer gold mine and is presumed to have appeared in the Heian period’s (794–1195) “Tales of Times Now Past .” In Nishimikawa, alluvial gold panning was carried out using a method called “Onagashi” (great flow). The relics of reservoirs and channels in various parts of the mountains around the settlements and those of scraped mountains for alluvial gold panning still remain in good condition.
Tsurushi Silver Mine
The Tsurushi Silver Mine, Sado’s largest silver mine, is said to have been discovered in 1542. More than 600 mining sites have been identified, showing various mining techniques from different times. Methods such as cupellation, which uses lead to extract silver from ore, were introduced from the Iwami Silver Mine in Oda City, Shimane Prefecture.
Aikawa Gold and Silver Mine
Full-scale development of the Aikawa Gold and Silver Mine began in the Edo period (1603–1868). Large quantities of gold and silver produced were used as currency, greatly supporting the country’s finances.
Sado is the only mine in Japan that conducted operations from mining through to minting koban coins. These processes were vividly depicted in picture scrolls, more than 100 of which still remain.