The Legacy of French Engineers
Mining at Mikobata has a history spanning over 1,000 years. Along with the nearby mines in Akenobe and Ikuno, Mikobata produced silver and copper for centuries, reaching peak production during the last part of the nineteenth century. In 1919, with its ores exhausted, Mikobata was converted into an ore processing plant that became one of the largest in East Asia.
Raw ore from Akenobe was delivered by rail to the Mikobata plant, where it underwent a variety of physical and chemical separation techniques to concentrate the desired minerals in powder form. Once isolated, the powdered copper, zinc, and tin were shipped elsewhere for smelting.
The processing plant closed in 1987. Some of it was demolished in 2004, but the concrete foundations and “thickeners,” huge cement funnels that condensed wastewater, still stand.
A Great Feat of Engineering
Full-day experience & 1-night stay.
This tour takes you to the Mikobata abandoned ore processing site and former mine. Admired as a great feat of engineering achievement during its time, it is now retired with only ruins remaining that serve as reminders of its former glory.
We will take you on a journey starting from Nii station. A local small station for the Bantan train. Soon we end up on the Road of Ores route where you can take in the views of the beautiful valley as we cycle along. We"ll stop at various locations to admire the Japanese countryside life and the interesting things that make it so special.
Eventually we"ll stop at Japan"s first cast-iron bridge that"s still standing for over 170 years. Spend time relaxing and enjoying a warm or hot drink together. Surrounded by history, artefacts and ruins, our tour guide will point them out for you along the way.
As we approach Mikobata, be ready to be in awe of the sheer size of the ruins that reveal themselves. You will learn more about the history of the ruins and have the opportunity to purchase locally-made souvenirs. We'll enjoy lunch together before heading back to Nii station.
From Nii station, a guide will take you on the local Bantan train to Ikuno town where your accommodation is situated.
Stay the night in one of the oldest remaining official residence and company housing in Japan. Situated within the historic silver mining town of Ikuno has been designated as a nationally important cultural landscape. These "Koushataku" houses were built by the Mitsubishi Corporation around 1876 and are now designated cultural properties of Asago City. In such a historic building, you can experience accommodation while thinking about the life of the past.
The cycling component of this tour is led by locally trained guides from Asago Cycling who is a main cycling tour operator in Asago City with accommodation managed by Airbnb super host guesthouse Ikuno Stay.
Included in this experience
Fully maintained E-Bike with helmet
Trained cycling guide
Lunch & dinner
1 Night accommodation
An optional support car is available upon request
Photography services are available