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Ashio Copper Mine

©Nikko city

HOME > Japan’s Local Treasures > Ashio Copper Mine


Explore the mine by trolley and learn about its 400 years of history at the nearby museum

Nikko City, Tochigi Prefecture


©Nikko city


Once one of Japan’s most important industrial sites, the 400-year-old Ashio Copper Mine in Tochigi is now a tourist attraction. Boarding a trolley, you can travel along a dimly lit section of the former mine tunnel. The harsh reality of ore mining in past centuries is recreated with realistic mannequins located along the tunnel.
Copper was first discovered at Mt. Bizen Tateyama in 1610, and permission to mine it was granted by the Edo Shogunate in 1613. At its peak in the late 19th century, Ashio Copper Mine produced about 1,200 tons a year, about half of the country’s total output, making it the number one copper mine in Japan.
Also in Ashio, Furukawa Ashio History Museum has exhibitions on the history of the mine and the process for refining copper from ore. The mine is located beside the Watarase River, along which is also located Furukawa Kakemizu Club. Dating from the early 20th century, this handsome wooden building was used as accommodation for guests to the mine during that period


©Nikko city

How to get there


Travel from Tokyo Station to Utsunomiya Station via Shinkansen bullet train (about 50 minutes). From there, transfer to the JR Nikko Line and travel to JR Nikko Station (about 40 minutes). Alternatively, travel to Asakusa Station from Tokyo Station. Tobu Nikko Station is about 1 hour 50 minutes from Asakusa Station on the Tobu Line.

Ashio is 50 minutes by bus from either JR Nikko Station or Tobu Nikko Station. The mine is a short walk from Ashio Dozan Kanko Mae bus stop.

9-2 Tochigi, Ashio-machi, Nikko-shi, Tochigi-ken


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