Fukiya Copper Mine

Sasaune Mine - Sasaune Kodo - Sasaino Tunnel - Yoshioka mine


Useful Information

Location: Fukiya, Nariwa Town, Takahashi City, Okayama Prefecture.
Open: DEC to MAR daily 10-16.
APR to NOV daily 9-17.
Closed 29-DEC to 31-DEC.
[2020]
Fee: Adults JPY 400, Children JPY 200.
Groups (20+): 10% discount.
Combi Ticket all attractions: Adults JPY 1,000.
[2020]
Classification: MineCopper Mine
Light: electric.
Dimension: T=15°C, A=550m asl.
Guided tours: D=30min.
Photography:
Accessibility:
Bibliography:
Address: Fukiya Copper Mine, Sasaune Kodo Mining Gallery, 1987 Nariwacho Nakano, Takahashi, Okayama 719-2342, Tel: +81-866-29-2145, Tel: +81-866-29-2222.
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.

History

1920s mine closed.
1977 village designated a conservation area for historically important buildings.

Geology


Description

笹畝坑道 (Sasaino Tunnel) is a show mine located south of the village Fukiya. It was operated from the Edo period to the Taisho era. After the Meiji era the mine was operated by Mitsubishi Metals Co., Ltd., who merged various mines, built a private power plant, mechanized the work, and erected the first Western-style blast furnace in Japan. The mine produced chalcopyrite (copper sulfide ore) and pyrrhotite (iron sulfide ore).

While the village is quite popular for the red color named Bengara, which is produced from iron oxide, the mine actually mines copper, not iron. But beneath the copper ore there was pyrrhotite found, which was used to produce the red color after copper mining declined. The red color was used for decoration purposes, to protect the wood from water and fire, for dyeing clothes, for paintings, and for waterproofing ships. Nevertheless, the sales dwindled in the 1920s and the mine was finally closed. The miners left the town which became insignificant and mostly unknown.

There are numerous mining tunnels in the area, the Sasaino Tunnel is open to the public. It leads into the mountain side to a huge chamber which is the starting point for numerous other tunnels. Mannequins give visitors an idea of how copper and melanterite were mined. Sasaino is actually only the name of the tunnel, the mine behind is called Yoshioka mine.