Matsuo Mine


Originally published on on November 2011

Matsuo Mine


Matsuo Mine


Hachimantai, Iwate


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.

Matsuo Mine
Matsuo Mine


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


Photos by Jordy Meow and text by Jing Meow.
Haunting Silence of Tohoku Mines on Totoro Times.