How to access UNESCO World Heritage Listed Iwami Ginzan Silver Mine

Iwami Ginzan Rakanji temple (C) Jonathan Ayre

First of all, I would like to let you know that this post is written by one of my frequent visitor, Mr. Jonathan Ayre. He offered me to share his experience about travelling to Iwami Ginzan Silver Mine. I would like to thank you, Jonathan for your work.

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Many travellers who visit the San-in region are interested in the famous Iwami Ginzan Silver Mine, situated in Shimane Prefecture. It is famous as having well-preserved silver mine shafts and various ruins that are over 400 years old. You are actually able to enter one of mine shafts were silver was excavated over 300 years ago. Let’s take a look how to get there.

Iwami Ginzan is situated in Omori Town, Oda City in Shimane Prefecture. Situated about 60km from Matsue and 30km from Izumo, Odashi Station is served by local, rapid and limited express trains. You can also access Odashi from Shin-Yamaguchi on the Sanyo Shinkansen using Super Oki (about 3 ½ hours, 3 services daily).

Access to Iwami Ginzan is via the San-in Main Line and local bus to Omori town.


View Iwami Ginzan Silver Mine Route in a larger map

From Matsue/Izumo

Matsue station. There is two island platforms and four tracks. (C) Jonathan Ayre

Matsue is about 60km from Odashi Station. Izumo is half way in-between, about 30km from both Matsue and Odashi. The area is served by Limited Express trains Super Oki, Super Matsukaze and Yakumo. Both Super Oki and Super Matsukaze stop at Odashi Station, but Yakumo terminates at Izumo-shi Station. If you take Yakumo, you have to change to a local or rapid train at Izumo-shi station. Yakumo departs from Okayama hourly and stops at Bitchu-Takahashi, Niimi, Yonago, Yasugi and Matsue before terminating at Izumo-shi, so is very convenient if you are coming from Okayama or Osaka to Iwami Ginzan.

Limited Express Super Matsukaze by KIHA 187 series (C) Jonathan Ayre

By Limited Express

Super Oki has 3 departures daily in each direction. It is operated by KiHa 187 series.

Super Matsukaze has 4 departures daily in each direction. It is also operated by KiHa 187 series.

Iwami Ginzan is area is open between 08:30 and 17:00, so some of these services are not appropriate to access the area, unless you are staying overnight in Odashi or Omori.

Towards Odashi

Depart MatsueDepart Izumo-shiArrive OdashiService
06:1506:4007:07Ltd Exp Super Oki 1
08:3609:0609:28Ltd Exp Super Matsukaze 1
11:1111:3612:04Ltd Exp Super Oki 3
12:4813:1213:34Ltd Exp Super Matsukaze 5
15:0415:2815:50Ltd Exp Super Oki 5
16:4917:1817:45Ltd Exp Super Matsukaze 7
19:0719:3220:01Ltd Exp Super Matsukaze 9

Towards Matsue/Izumo

Depart OdashiArrive Izumo-shiArrive MatsueService
07:0707:3707:07Ltd Exp Super Matsukaze 4
08:3108:5509:28Ltd Exp Super Matsukaze 6
11:4512:1112:04Ltd Exp Super Oki 2
13:2313:5013:34Ltd Exp Super Matsukaze 10
15:5116:1415:50Ltd Exp Super Oki 4
17:2417:4817:45Ltd Exp Super Matsukaze 12
19:5020:1320:01Ltd Exp Super Oki 6

In addition to limited express trains, The San-in Line between Tottori, Matsue, Izumo, Odashi and Hamada is serviced by additional rapid Aqua Liner trains. They are operated by KiHa 121 or 126 Series. They supplement limited express trains, but have more stops and take around 1 hour and 10 minutes from Matsue, and around 35 minutes from Izumo. There are 5-6 round trips per day in each direction.

If you’re coming from Matsue by local train you will need to change at Izumo-shi. Services can vary between 1 per hour to 1 per two hours. By local train, it takes almost 2 hours to reach Odashi Station.

Local Bus from Odashi Station to Omori Town

Bus stop at Odashi station (C) Jonathan Ayre

Local buses run all day between Odashi Station (大田市駅), Omori Town and the Iwami Ginzan World Heritage Centre, which is just out of Omori Town. If you want to visit the World Heritage Centre, take the bus all the way to World Heritage Centre stop (世界遺産センター). From the World Heritage Centre, you can explore the mountains on walking trails and visit the many historic monuments; however the terrain is very steep.

If you want to visit the famous world heritage listed mine shaft, you need to get off the bus at Omori (大森). You can find the bus timetable here. The timetable in red connects Odashi Station, Omori and the World Heritage Centre. The timetable in blue connects the World Heritage Centre and Omori Town, the green Nima and Omori, and the orange Hiroshima Station (Shinkansen side), Omori and Odashi Station.

Getting Around

Iwami Ginzan Mine Shaft (C) Jonathan Ayre

The mine shaft is located approximately 2.5km outside of Omori town. The best way to access it is by bicycle. There are multiple bicycle rental shops near the bus stops that offer both conventional and electric bicycles. The terrain is hilly and locals will often recommend electric bicycles to visitors. Bicycles cost 500-700 yen for the first 2 hours and extra after per bicycle.

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