When I was still a “docile” boy, I often wondered what for the conveying basket in the sky was. After I graduated from the primary school, I was finally able to understand that they were transporting some mineral substances from Tsuchikura mine to the nearest railway station of Kinomoto. The next curiosity for the honest boy was what kind of places the site was and what jobs they were doing there, but I was sorry that I haven’t had any chances to visit there.
Tsuchikura mine was said to have started mining from 1910, especially for copper. And they say that there used to be no less than 400 households for miner workers, the total residents (including their family members) of which were 1,500 at the highest of its prosperity. It is said that there used to be a doctor’s office, a kind of supermarket for daily goods, a public bath, and even a movie theater around their habitation area near the mining site.
The mining place, however had to stop the operation in 1965, 57 years ago, due to a slump of the copper price and a high cost for the mining. The ruin, however, has still a popularity as it looks like Historic Sanctuary of Machu Picchu in the Andes.
I dropped by a kind of visitor center of the district today, since young leaders of the district are now holding a photo exhibition for those days. The black and white photos remind me vividly of those good old days of myself, too. A lot of kids were playing at the site pleasantly, quite different from the current status. Now the place is heavily covered with weeds, all the hustle and bustle those days has perfectly disappeared.