The Ashio Mine became industrialised in 1871 and produced approx 39 percent of Japans copper up until its closure in 1973. It caused a lot of environmental controversy in the later part of the 19th century as a result of floods and pollution. But it now sits sleepy and hidden away in the mountains (Tochigi Prefecture)
The journey to this place is beautiful and picturesque (lots of winding roads through lush green forest - depending on the time of year). The little town at the foot of the mine is quaint and traditional with nice wooden houses and shops.
The abandoned mining huts were a definite highlight with their mossy green interiors and dilapidated wooden walls. A majority of the mine was demolished a few years back however, there's still some rusty machinery scattered around. A small part of the mine is still active, so I had to sneak around. I got questioned on my way out by two uniformed men and just explained that I was only taking photos and apologised profusely for trespassing. They let me go but informed me that this place was off limits to the public.