January 27, 2018

Blogs related to placer gold in Japan

There are many bloggers in Japan and it is top class in the world. Considering the reasons, homework are issued during the summer holiday in elementary school. Homework is each subject, free research, diary, etc. I think that Japanese people do not feel resistant to write even if they become adults. But I played with camping and swimming for most of the summer vacation period, so I finished my homework with the help of my parents in the last week.

There are about 500 gold prospectors in Japan, about 100 people are writing blogs and about 50 people are active blog contributors. Most Japanese got English education for 6 to 10 years, but we usually do not use English because we do not have borders with other countries, so few people write English blog.

In the past, Japan was called the golden country "Zipangu", and gold production was high. Only small gold can be collected in recent years, there are no professionals, only peoples with this hobby.

I will introduce the URL of Japanese blogs in order to have you recognize the present gold panning in Japan. Since many pictures are attached to these blogs, even if you can’t understand Japanese, it is obvious in the picture.

<List of Japanese blogs>

Blog of wild master
Blog that you can understand Russian underground resources well
Changeable loitering diary by Mr. H-numa
Dawn of the metallurgy
Doublet is little out of focus
Every day of gold wolf fascinated by placer gold
Fine gold prospecting by grandfather
Get stones
Gold digging digging diary by Sarunashi
Gold panning know-how
Gold prospecting as a hobby
Gold prospecting diary as a hobby
Gold prospecting diary
Gold prospector in Higo Province
Heppoko ZERO "Easy Diary"
I also lost big gold nugget today
Kazuo-san’s Gold rush
Let's dig placer gold
Let's go for gold prospecting with inspiration
Looking for placer gold in Echigo Gold Mountain
Memory of placer gold
Mr. Nomura's Placer Gold Class
Okukuji Reports
Old gambler’s journey and gold panning
On the resources of the Northern Territories
Placer gold documents by Gold-brain
Placer Gold Study Group in Kozuke Province
Placer gold treasure by Condor
Playboy in Suruga Province
Reports on gold prospecting as a hobby in Okukuji
Reports on gold panning with children
Road to the gold prospector in Hokuriku Province
Small world up to 6 mm
Sparkle of placer gold
Specimen box made by law faculty student
Study Group of Gold Mine History in Hitachi Province
Taka’s hobby spree/Hobbies are food for wark
The Society for Placer Gold and Platinum-group-metal
Tiny art forest
Tono's placer gold
Unrequited love for placer gold
Wani-wani panic 2
West Gunma Placer Gold Laboratory
West Kanto Placer Gold Laboratory
Yamaguchi Placer Gold Study Group
Zenipi's blog

December 6, 2017

Shikoku Pilgrimage and gold panning

I got on a journey called Shikoku Pilgrimage (Junrei).

This is a journey around 88 temples in Shikoku Region (Island composed of 4 prefectures) and Koyasan in Wakayama Prefecture, they are related to Buddhist monk Kukai (Kobo Daishi) who existed about 1,200 years ago.

Shikoku Pilgrimage has been done for ascetic exercises and faith since about 500 years ago, but recently there are many tourists and foreigners. The total distance is about 1,300 km, and there are various people who walk, use bicycles, cars and buses.

The pilgrimage is taking place in various countries, and Shikoku Pilgrimage is similar to the pilgrimage of Spain (Camino de Santiago) in Christianity. We visit the Buddhist temples, but there are no restrictions on the qualifications of pilgrims and their purpose, and you can do your own purpose (faith, atonement, confession, ascetic exercises) away from your daily life.

Mercury, mercury sulfide and copper mines were located in Shikoku related to Kukai. Mercury was used for gold plating by the amalgam method on the surface of bronze Buddha statue. Mercury sulfide is a red color and it was a precious substance used for painting shrines and temples. For this reason it is said that Kukai had knowledge of minerals.

Besshi copper mine which was the world's largest output was in Shikoku. Although it is closed now, it became a sightseeing spot called Maintopia Besshi. You can visit mine facilities and experience gold panning. Foil gold and granular silver are included in the sand and it is difficult to separate.

The red dot shows 88 temples, the blue line shows Median Tectonic Line(large fault).
Various metal deposits are near the Median Tectonic Line. 

Pilgrims usually have a cape, white coat, cane, but there are no rules on clothes.

The train used in the mine.

Gold panning pool

Gold and silver used in gold panning

October 28, 2017

Lecture and practice of gold panning in Japan

I went to Shonai-machi in Yamagata Prefecture because there was a class of "Gold Digging Experience". We gathered at the lodge "Kita- Gassan" near Dewa-Three Mountains.

The three mountains are subjects of mountain faith, and there are many shrines and temples in the surrounding area, and many Yamabushi are still practicing in mountain.

In this area, development of placer gold and gold mine has been done for a long time.

This class is held annually, and the instructor who is a master of “Yuri-ita” taught us the history and technology of gold digging in this area.

After the lecture, we practiced gold panning in the pool and dug placer gold in the nearby river. Each one got a small amount of gold and was able to spend a meaningful day.

Five-storied pagota of national treasure
The tower is weathered but  Japanese prefer this oldness

Lecture room scenery

Practice in pool

Gold digging in Tachiyazawa-river

Sluice mat knitted with plant fiber and Japanese shovel "Katcha"

August 29, 2017

2017 Gold Panning Championships sponsored by “The Yu-no-oku Museum of Gold Mining History”/Japan

I took up the topic of this museum before. This facility introduces the history and tools of gold mine to citizens. There is a large pool where more than 100 people can gold panning at the same time.

Here, the largest gold panning championships in Japan is held annually, and it was held for two days on 29 and 30 July 2017.

On the first day, the junior division, the proficient division and the unofficial division were held with 200 participants. On the second day, school competition with 8 schools of junior high school and high school were held, 136 people were played in school groups and 5 person team.

Panning technology of high school students has improved year by year, and the winner in this year was a female student. I think she can make a good result at the world gold panning championships.

<The 1st day>
1. Official Categories
   Standard plastic pan is used in this category.
  a. Juniors: 80 people, 6Kg
  b. Proficient(Men & Women): 120 people, 10Kg/10minutes
  c. Final: steal classic pan, 16Kg/15minutes
2. Unofficial Categories
   Unlimited kind of pan: 20 people, 7 Kg/10minutes

<The 2nd day>
1. School Competition: 8 schools, 136 people
   Standard plastic pan is used in this category.
   1 school 19 bucket
2. 5 person team
   Five different pans are used.

Gold panning in pool

Opening ceremony

Opening ceremony of school competition

Competition using 5 types of pan

The mascot of this museum(Each city in Japan has a mascot)

This year's winner is a female student

July 12, 2017

Gold panning in Juneau, Alaska

When I visited California in 2012, I decided to go to "One week Alaska cruise by luxury ship". Of course I took a cheap inner room. Seattle Juneau Sitka Ketchikan Victoria Seattle and the sights of the Tracy Arm fjord and Soyer Glacier are the main attractions.
I used the Holland America Line. As this company was said to be focusing on cooking, I was able to enjoy the food of many country.

In the middle of the cruise, there was a gold panning tour at Juneau and it was somewhat expensive but I participated.
We were guided by the bus to the river and panned the sand mixed with placer gold using an iron plate like in the western play. We finished so quickly that a guide dug the river with a scoop. Although the depth is shallow, a few grains of gold were collected and I was impressed by Alaska.

This area was rainy in 300 days of the year, we worked on a raincoat. I finished early, but young people were eagerly looking for gold until the end time. I was strangely reassured that people in any country were fascinated by golden magical powers. This gold panning is the moment when my dream for 40 years has come true, and I was obsessed with gold since then.

After that tour, I visited the old tavern named "Red Dog Saloon" in the town of Juneau. Pleasure of gold digger is common in the world. There were simple tables, chairs and a stage. Although it is a small bar, it is popular among tourists because there are few old things in the United States.
I was interested in strange places that wood chips are spreading on the floor as winter heating and slip prevention.

Town of Juneau and cruise ships

June 18, 2017

El Dorado is a magical word

Although it is a topic of 2012, my daughter who lives near San Francisco gave me an air ticket and I decided to go to The USA.

We moved toward Nevada State on Route 50 for the purpose of sightseeing in Lake Tahoe. I found a sign of “El Dorado” at a certain point. Is it only me that bloods stir with the word "El Dorado"?

I remembered that this area was California Gold Rush.

I stopped by a tourist mine in Placerville (Hangtown's Gold Bug Park & Gold Bug Mine). There were small tunnel, crushing factorie and shop. I found something that seemed to be gold on the wall of the tunnel, but left it as it was.
I bought a gold ore at a souvenir shop, but the place of origin was Nevada State or Colorado State. There was a pool for gold panning,but there was no trace of using it.

I visited Placerville again in 2016 after four years, I did not expect even in my dream at that time.

 The shop of Gold Bug Mine
 The tunnel of Gold Bug Mine
The crushing factory of Gold Bug Mine

June 8, 2017

Gold and ammonite in Yubari-river Hokkaido/Japan

About 40 years ago, there was information that placer gold and placer platinum (platinum group metal) was dug in Yubari-river Hokkaido.
I headed for Yubari-river with aluminum pan and a garden scoop. There were many coal mines around this area, but energy conversion to oil occurred and the coal industry declined.

While watching the ruined coal mine housing, I went to a river near the mountain trail of Yubari-dake. Information on gold digging was obtained only from books and I had no idea how to dig gold. I saw many fossils of ammonite in the neighborhood, so I switched to fossil collection. There was a part of the fossil taken by someone, but a spiral ammonite was not found.

At a later date, it was reported to the newspaper that the postmaster had nearly 50 cm of ammonite, so I visited his house with sweets. When leaving his house, he gave me the ammonite with beautiful crystal structure. This is still a good memory.

After that, although I was interested in gold, my hobby moved to river fishing. Regarding gold digging, there was a blank period of 40 years from this incident.

In recent years, a big dam was built and a part of the gold area was submerged, but it seems that gold and platinum are still being collected.
Yubari-city is the location of the movie "The Yellow Handkerchief " of Ken Takakura who died recently, there is a memorial hall in this place, many of his fans are visiting.

Fossil of ammonite taken in Hokkaido

The movie is a story at the coal mine housing. She raised many yellow handkerchiefs as an indication that she still waits for her husband returning from prison.

Movie poster of Ken Takakura's appearance