One of the highlights of our trip to Sado was a visit to the Sado Kinzan - the old gold mine. It was on my must-see on Sado list, although I'm not sure I really had any idea what to expect. I ended up being very impressed with the entire facility - the Edo period mine has been fixed up with modern day paths and the old mine shafts and whatnot fitted out with life size moving mannequins that manage to avoid being kitschy and do a very good job of showing what work in the mines would have been like. Each display is clearly signed in bilingual Japanese-English plastic signs designed to look like old wooden signboards. The Meiji period mines have been left relatively untouched and, because they require an extra fee to enter, draw in far less visitors. They are much more "raw" and there is even one section that is unlit, with flashlights left out for visitors who want to explore! The two-room museum is impressive as well, using dioramas to tie into the mannequin displays, but supplementing them with simple and clear explanatory panels (again in Japanese and English) and also original objects. The multiple layers of explanation and the visual-ness of the dioramas makes it easy for visitors to gain as little or as much as they want. I was very impressed at how they made what could be a very dull historical site so interesting!
But, this being a BOOKcase tour post, I suppose I should share some images of the museum's guide book! A very simple and small booklet, it cost only 100 yen. Since the pictures show what appear to be old signs in the mines, I'm guessing the booklet is rather old, but English explanations have been added in with stickers on the bottom of each page.
Perhaps not an eye-candy type book, but the mine and the museum shouldn't be missed if you ever find yourself on Sado!