The Road of Ores
The Bantan region sits at the heart of Hyogo Prefecture.
The region is home to Gin no Bashamichi, the Old Silver Mine Carriage Road that runs from Himeji City’s Shikama Port in the south to Ikuno Silver Mine in the north.
The area is also home to Koseki no Michi (the Ore Road), which connects Akenobe Mine and Nakaze Mine. Covering 73 km in all, these roads (combined to form the Bantan Road) pass through mining towns and post towns where the Meiji Era can still be found today toward Japan’s most impressive group of mines, each with serene tunnels waiting to be explored.
Travelling along this road—considered Japan’s first steps toward modernization—toward the mining group that marks the terminus, travellers will experience the landscape and lives both past and present of iconic mining towns, culminating in an unforgettable look at Japan’s unique history of mineral resources.
Japan's first steps to modernisation
2-Day Experience with 1-Night Stay
From Ikuno to Mikobata. We will follow the historic Road of Ores built during the Meiji period. One of Japan"s first industrial roads that functioned to transport ore from Asago to Ikuno town.
As you cycle through the town of Ikuno, you"ll experience a mining town with more than 1200 years of history. Take a moment and walk along the tracks of the mine carts that carried the ore at the time and enjoy the beautiful scenery of the rivers, shrines and nature. Learn how French engineers were involved in the development of the industrialization of the mining town and the first step towards the modernization of Japan.
Feel the heartbeat of the town's old industry when entering its former Silver Mine. Take a tour of the mining staff's company housing in the Meiji era and experience a touch of life from back then. Besides mining history, you'll be pleasantly surprised by what else Ikuno has to offer.
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.
For dinner, we take you to a local restaurant or a luxurious BBQ in the guesthouse garden. Dinner at the privately owned art museum and banquet are also available at certain times of the year.
In the morning a delicious locally prepared breakfast will await you. Enjoy your morning while we gently prepare for your next adventure to the Mikobata abandoned ore processing site and former mine.
We follow Japan's first industrialised route known as the Road of Ores 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.
The Bantan train in itself is a charming local train that still operates on the same train line that was constructed as part of the industrialised routes to transport ore and materials outside of Asago.
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
Dinner & Breakfast
1 Night accommodation
An optional support car is available upon request
Photography services are available