土肥鉱山

Toi Kinzan - Toi Gold Mine


Useful Information

Location: Suruga bay, Nishi Izu.
(34.908272, 138.792877)
Open: All year daily 9-17.
Last entry 16:30.
[2022]
Fee: Adults JPY 1,000, Children (6-12) JPY 500, Children (0-5) free.
Groups (20+): Adults JPY 900, Children (6-12) JPY 450.
[2022]
Classification: MineGold Mine
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System
Dimension: L=100 km.
Guided tours: self guided, D=45 min, L=400 m (tunnel).
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: yes
Bibliography:  
Address: Toi Kinzan, 2726 Toi, Izu-shi, Shizuoka 410-3302, Tel: +81-120-08-2726.
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

1370 mine under direct control of the Ashikaga shogunate.
1965 closed as mine was exhausted.
1972 opened to the public.

Description

The 土肥鉱山 (Toi Kinzan, Toi Gold Mine) was mined over centuries since the Middle Ages. Because of the hot springs in the area the temperature underground was rather hot, there was a hot spring even inside the mine. The workers were wearing only a sort of loincloth because of the high temperature.

The mine tour is self-guided and includes various outside buildings and a sort of underground museum. The mine tour is underground in an old tunnel, which is said to be 100 km long. In a sort of dioramas life-sized figures are shown in scenes of gold mining during the Edo era. Mining techniques, working conditions and the ore vein are shown. It starts with a typical wooden support structure, which was used to avoid rockfall and collapses. Then the shrine of the mine god is reached, different design but similar idea as the Saint Barbara statues in European mines. Then animatronic figures show important task like pulling water with buckets, supporting the ceiling, mining the ore with hammer and chisel, and transporting the ore in special shovel like baskets. Unfortunately they are not very self explanatory, and so epic dialogues between fictitious miners from tape are started by motion detectors. There are several locations along the trail where gold bearing quartz veins can be seen, which is actually quite impressive. We were astonished by the golden masks of the animated puppets, probably a hint to wear a mask during Covid-19. Its obvious why they are golden though.

The 土肥黄金館 (Toi Gold Museum, Golden Mansion) contains an exhibition about the mined gold. The smelting and further use of the metal is shown, for example how early gold coins were cast. There are models of the mine surroundings and surface installations. Highlight is the biggest gold bar of the world which is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records for "The largest manufactured pure gold bar". It weights 250 kg and is worth more than 13 Million € [2022]. It was made by Mitsubishi Materials Corporation on 11-JUN-2005 at the Naoshima Smelter and Refinery, Kagawa Prefecture, Japan.

Finally at the Alluvial Gold Mansion the visitor has the possibility to pan gold. The first gold was found in the area as alluvial gold, the vein was eroded, the gold washed away and accumulated in pits in the rivers around. However, there is an additional fee for the gold panning. Back at the entrance building there is a restaurant and a gift shop.