Along with Minetopia Besshi’s ‘copper mine train’ and ‘gold prospecting’, articles on which we’ve already published, there’s one more area we absolutely recommend to visit.
Located around 30 minutes from the main building with its hot spring and restaurant, there is a place called the Tonaru zone that resembles the ruins of Machu Pichu.
This is what is left of the ore storage depot and the overhead freight carrying cable lift that were built during the era that Besshi copper mine flourished.
At that time, starting with transporting ore, the location acted as a lifeline for delivering things such as mail and daily necessities from the foot of the mountain. Now, relieved of its former duties, it has become an area of “industrial heritage in the skies”, and a sightseeing spot visited by many people on tours.
Due to their appearance, the ruins are also called “the Machu Pichu of the Orient”.
Surrounded with the impressive brick buildings, it feels almost as if you’ve stepped inside the world of movies.
Early in the morning, the area is apparently often enveloped in mist, which gives it an even more mysterious ambience.
This is the entrance to the place where powder kegs of dynamite that were used for excavations were stored.
The entrance is sealed, but peeking inside from behind the iron grill, you feel a terribly heavy aura.
Rail cars and other equipment used for transporting ore is on display inside another tunnel that you can enter and walk around.
At the Tonaru mine workshop (‘Tonaru mine koubou’) located right nearby, you can also try the handicraft experience of making an original copper plate relief!
It’s a nice way to commemorate your visit to the Machu Pichu of the Orient!
Two microbuses a day (at 11.00 and 13.00) leave for Minetopia Besshi Tonaru Zone from the main building.
As it’s a guided tour, we recommend taking advantage of the ride!
Location: 707-3 Tachikawa-cho, Niihama city, Ehime prefecture
Microbus: Departs twice a day at 11.00 & 13.00 (Total tour time is around 2 hours) from April through November. On weekdays 5 or more applications and on Saturdays, Sundays and national holidays at least 1 application is necessary for the bus to run.
Microbus tour fees: Middle school students and older JPY1200, from 3 year olds to Elementary school students JPY600
Parking for 383 vehicles
HP: http://besshi.com/ (Japanese)
Setouchi Finder Photo-writer: Daisuke Chiba
Daisuke Chiba / Photo-writer I was born in 1985 in Miyoshi City, Tokushima Prefecture, and now live in Tokushima City. After graduating university, I worked at a publishing company as an editor for various mooks, and in April 2014 I went freelance. I work as a photographer, copy-writer and editor, but also do product development and other stuff as well. If anyone needs me, I can do anything! Except, in spite of my being from Tokushima, dancing - I’m really bad at dancing Awa Odori!
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