Yu no Oku Museum of Gold Mining History

Main content starts here.

For many centuries, the mountainous part of the present-day town of Minobu thrived as the Yu no Oku gold fields. Through audiovisual installations, historic artifacts, and more, the Yu no Oku Museum of Gold Mining History tells the story not only of how this region became a heartland of Japan’s gold mining industry, but also of the villagers who made it happen.

The discovery of gold traces in the soil around the source of the Shimobe River, at the foot of Mount Kinashi 6.5 kilometers east of the museum, led locals to begin mining there in medieval times. At the height of its prosperity, before decline in the eighteenth century, the area was home to three bustling mines utilizing more than a dozen mine shafts. Gold from these mines is thought to have been used in bullion coins introduced during the sixteenth-century rule of local warlord Takeda Shingen.

Once inside the contemporary museum building, which boasts picture window-like views out to the mountains where Yu no Oku flourished, you will pass through a sloping corridor designed to evoke the sense of heading down into a gold mine. Highlights among a succession of engaging exhibits include a panoramic scale model of the mines, its tiny figurines brought to life via a period movie playing behind them, and highly realistic, full-size dioramas that show in detail how villagers would extract gold from the mined ore.

There is even an opportunity to try panning for gold yourself. To this day the surrounding land contains tiny flecks of gold, which you have a good chance of finding.


Venue Address

409-2947 1787 Uenotaira, Minobu-cho, Minamikoma-gun

View on Google Maps

Home of Mt. Fuji > Discover > Yu no Oku Museum of Gold Mining History