About Sado Gold Mine

In "Historic Site Sado Gold Mine", there are many relics that tell the long history from the Edo period to the Meiji era, and until the stop of operation in the Heisei period, blending into the rich nature and left everywhere.

Most of the mines, mining facilities, and smelting facilities that dot the vast site are designated as national important cultural properties, historic sites, and industrial modernization heritage sites.

It is a very valuable heritage that is unprecedented in the world where you can see almost all of the changes in mining technology and production system over 400 years.

The “Golden Mine on Sado Island” including this “Historic Site Sado Gold Mine” was nominated by UNESCO as a candidate for World Cultural Heritage in Japan in 2022, and preparations are currently underway for official registration.


The 400-year history of Sado Gold Mine

The Sado Gold Mine is said to have been founded in 1601 by three mountain masters.

In 1603, the Sado Magistrate's Office was established under the direct control of the Tokugawa shogunate, and the production of gold coins was also carried out, supporting the finances of the Edo shogunate.

In 1869 (Meiji 2), it became a government-owned Sado mine, and Western engineers were invited to mechanize and modernize the mine.

In 1889 (Meiji 22), it became the property of the Imperial Household under the jurisdiction of the Imperial Household Agency's Imperial Household Agency, contributing to the modernization of Japanese industry as a model mine.

After that, in 1896 (Meiji 29), it was sold to Mitsubishi Joint Stock Company at that time, and it expanded and developed as Japan's largest gold and silver mine.

In March 1989, unfortunately, operations were suspended due to resource depletion, and the long history of nearly 400 years came to an end.


Japan's largest gold and silver mine

The gold vein of the Sado Gold Mine stretched 3,000m from east to west, 600m from north to south, and 800m deep. Pursuing this gold mine, 78 tons of gold and 2,330 tons of silver were produced in 388 years from Edo to Heisei, making it the largest gold and silver mine in Japan. The excavated tunnel spreads out like an ant's nest, with a total length of about 400km (between Sado and Tokyo).