November 10, 2011
Originally published on metropolis.co.jp on November 2011
Once the biggest sulfur mine in Japan, Matsuo Mine used to employ over 10,000 people in the mid-20th century. To improve the working conditions for its employees, concrete apartment blocks were built well before they became popular in Japan. Inside they had flush toilets and central heating, as well as a huge communal bath. Unfortunately, this modern metropolis did not last long. The mine closed down in 1976, everyone left and all the wooden buildings were burned, leaving only the concrete structures and the sanitation team.
From Tokyo, seven hours by car. Tohoku Express Way, Hachimentai Exit then follow the Matsuo signs.
By train follow:
- Tokyo – JR Shinkansen Hayate 25 (2.5hrs)
- Morioka – IGR Iwate Ginga Tetsudo (50min)
- Kitamori – walk to Matsuo Hachimantai, Iwate (15min) to Matsuo
- Total cost: ¥14,590