Iwami Ginzan was one of the world's leading mines,
producing high-quality silver from 1526 to 1923. The
mine is located over a wide area in the central region of
Shimane Prefecture in the Chugoku Region. The silver
excavated from the mine was exported to Europe via
East Asia, and played a vital role in the East-West trade.
It is said that approximately one-third of the silver that
was in circulation worldwide in the 16th Century was
produced at the mine of Iwami. The ancient remains of
Iwami Ginzan Silver Mine are significant in the fact that
abundant traces of silver production, from its mining sites
to transportation routes, have survived almost intact to
this day. It was inscribed on the list of UNESCO World
Heritage Sites in 2007.
Another decisive factor in Iwami Ginzan's designation as a World Heritage Site is that the silver mine was set in an environment of abounding nature. The mine has co- existed side-by-side with this natural environment over a long period of time. The entire area of Iwami Ginzan, covered in rich forestland, envelopes a high integrity in the cultural landscape and an outstanding value of land- use. Its excellent state of preservation and maintenance makes the mine high in authenticity, leaving a historic archaeological mark in the commercial and cultural exchange between Japan and the trading countries of Asia and Europe.