Mountain Geosites

Hashidate Gold Mine - Remains of Itoigawa's Largest Gold Mine

Hashidate Gold Mine, the largest goldmine in Itoigawa, is said to have been built by Uesugi Kenshi, daimyo of Echigo Province (Niigata Prefecture) during the Warring States period (16th Century CE). Before being abandoned, it produced about 1.2 metric tons of gold. The vast majority of this gold was mined between the years of 1898 and 1905 where over 1,000 workers extracted 846kg of gold from the tunnels. With the construction of a hydroelectric plant in 1903, this area also became the site of the first electric light in Itoigawa.

Here, where the mountain ridges surrounding Kanayama Valley, Nagajiri Valley, and Aso Valley converge, you can still see many pitheads. Also, in the flat zone, you can see a stone wall and millstone left as reminders of the gold mine offices and smelting works that once occupied this location.

Legends are told of a Yamanba, or mountain witch, who once lived near here. On the side of Shiratori Mountain, Yamanba Cave is said to have been her home and Odori'iwa is said to be the stone upon which she would dance and sing. Zeami, a playwright of the Muromachi period (14th century CE), used this legend as inspiration for his Noh play, "Yamanba."

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Remains of the Gold Mine Office

Millstone used to crush ore


Ore consisting of gold flecks in quartz

Rock used to build office wall

Gold dust found in Omigawa River

Route to Hashidate Gold Mine Geosite

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