May 20, 2017

Production of Japanese traditional gold pan "Yuri-ita"

There is a traditional gold pan "Yuri-ita" in Japan.
Even now, the tool is lent out for the education of tourists and children in Usotan-nai gold panning park (Hokkaido) and Rekifune-river (Hokkaido) in order to convey ancient techniques.
Besides the Yuri-ita, there were Yuri-hachi(no riffle flat-pan) and Yuri-bon(tray), but they are only seen in museums.
Yuri-ita is not commercially available, but each one is making it. There are no standard dimensions, making it by each person's experience and idea. Approximate dimensions are shown below.

1.Dimensions of Yuri-ita
(1) Length: 600 to 650mm
   I think that it will be influencd by the shoulder width of the person using it. Since the length is less than 500 mm in the World Gold Panning Championships, it must be cut.
(2) Width: 300 to 350 mm
 If it is wide, we can handle a lot of sand, but it becomes difficult to discharge sand.
(3) Depth of curved part: 20 to 30 mm
   It is thought that shallow one is easier to escape gold, but the processing speed is fast.
On the other hand, when it is deep, the treatment action must be increased and the gold is easily escaped.
(4) Plate thickness: around 15 mm
   It gets lighter as it becomes thinner, but it is in balance with the strength of the wood.
(5) Height of edge frame: 3 to 5 mm
   Several riffles with height are attached in the plastic gold pan, but there is one riffle at the edge in a Yuri-ita.
An ordinary person thinks that if the height of the riffle is high, the recovery rate of gold will increase, but removal of sand will be delayed. It is good to carefully operate thinking that it is panning (board-ing) with a board.
(6) Width of head part:
   It is a part to hold, width and height should be decided by the size of each hand.
(7) Open part:
   One side of the Yuri-ita is open. It is for separating gold and sand at the final stage of processing.

2. How to make a Yuri-ita
   I tried making the Yuri-ita for the first time. The old man was made only with saw and chisel, but it takes time to work, so I used various power tools.
(1) Types of wood
   The material of the Yuri-ita is Willow, Katsura, Horse chestnut etc.
It is preferable to use a straight grain of wood dried for more than 2 years.
As it is used in the water, water resistance and corrosion resistance of the wood are important.
If broad wood is not available, there is a method of bonding with adhesive. I used  Japanese cypress that are readily available in Japan recently.
(2) Processing
   If you use a large machine, you can easily carve Yuri-ita, but ordinary people have to carve with small tools for a long time. Since there is no standard production method, so please try various methods for every one.
(3) Fillers and coatings
   Water resistant two-part epoxy is used for repairing scratches.
Painting are done only on the outer surface, the inner surface is not painted so that the gold is easy to stop.
It is difficult to find gold on the same color wood, so it is colored with black ink (Sumi). If you can’t get Sumi, I think it is good to polish with paper after applying dark stain
(4) Production point
   The points of the Yuri-ita structure are the height of the edge frame and the depth of curved part.
If the edge frame is high and the curved port is deep,beginners like me tend to think that the recovery rate of gold will be higher
However, the discharge of sand is important in separating gold and sand.
The theory of recovery with the Yuri-ita is basically the same as plastic gold pan.

3. How to operate the Yuri-ita
   Since it is difficult to write the operation method of the Yuri-ita in sentences, please refer to You Tube. The basic theory of the Yuri-ita seems to be the same as in the case of plastic gold pan.
(1) Stand in the position to see the downstream direction.
(2) Stir the sand and remove large stones. When holding the head part of the Yuri-ita, if you hold before the center line,the operability improves .
(3) Move the Yuri-ita right and left or seesaw type to generate fluidization phenomenon and settle the gold.
(4) Tilt the Yuri-ita slightly toward you and gently put water and remove the upper sand to the downstream side.
(5) Repeat the operations (3) and (4) until the sand reaches a small amount.
(6) Collect gold and sand on the head part side.
(7) Rotate 90 degrees and set the head part to the side of your body, rinse slowly with water and let sand flow.
(8) When only sand iron containing gold is obtained, tap the head part and move only gold to the upper side.
(9) Push the gold with a dry finger and collect it in a bottle or red cloth.

May 6, 2017

Stone Museum “Hakuseki-kan”/Japan

The Hakuseki-kan is a museum of minerals and jewels.

There is a pyramid made with locally produced 5,500 tons of granite. It is reproduced in 1/10 the size of the pyramid of King Khufu, and the underground maze is spreading. You can see rare exhibits such as natural crystals, diamonds, fossils, stone of the pyramid in Egypt, rock of Everest.

The popular corner in the museum is the “jewelry search”. There are 30 types of precious stones and jewels in the sand of the pool, and you can get them by digging with a bowl or hand.

Also, you can experience fossil digging and gold panning.

Address:Hirukawa Nakatsugawa-shi Gifu-ken

URL of Hakuseki-kan

May 2, 2017

Gold Panning Locations in UK and Ireland

The World Gold Panning Championships 2017 will be held in Moffat, Scotland. I am hesitating to go because it is far from Japan.

Cost performance is bad only by participation in the championships, so I would like to dig gold in the actual river.

Although it is not a recent topic, my friend says that he wants to search “Nessie” of the Loch Ness with an infrared detector at night. Another friend does not interested in the sightseeing spot, but I would like to see World Heritage Site of Edinburgh.

I searched the gold panning locations in UK on the Internet and displayed them on this figure.

We are the first visit to Scotland, we do not know the gold places, rules and the fee. Is there anyone who can guide us?

1.  Scotland

① Moffat(the place of the World Gold Panning Championships 2017)

Kildonan Burn, HelmsdaleThe Sutherland Goldfield

Angus Glens

Crom Alt Burn, Tyndrum

Calliacher BurnMoness River

Perthshire Hillsnear The Ochil Hills

The Ochil Hills(near Glendevon)

The Lammermuir Hills

Mennock Water, Saquhar


The Glengaber Burn(river Megget)

2. England

North Pennies, Nenthead, River Swale

The Lake District, Blencathra Mountain

Yorkshire dales

Forest of Dean

Hopes Nose, Torguay, Devon

⑰ Corn wall

3. Wales

Parys Mountain, Anglesey

Dolgellau, Snowdonia

Dollacothi, pumpsaint

Llanfymach, Pembrokeshire

4. Northern Ireland

Sperrin Mountain

5. Ireland


April 10, 2017

Satsuma Kinzangura/Japan

This place is the former site of Kushikino Mine. This mine has a history of over 300 years and produced more than 50 tons of gold until the shutdown in 1994. Now the project of precious metal recycling is done.
Because the temperature of the tunnel is constant throughout the year,” Satsuma Kinzangura” uses some galleries to store and cultivate Shochu. You can ride the truck and visit the reservoir of Shochu, but you can’t experience gold panning.

Satsuma Shochu” is one of the origin-designated brands based on the WHO like "Bordeaux wine" and "Scotch whiskey".

Address: Noshita Ichikikushikino-shi Kagoshima-ken

Homepage of Satuma Kinzangura

April 7, 2017

Esashi-Fujiwara Heritage Park/Japan

The historical park "Esashi-Fujiwara Heritage Park" is located near World Cultural Heritage “Hiraizumi”.
It is a theme park that you can experience the history of Tohoku from ancient times to the middle ages.
In the garden of about 20 hectares, there are more than 120 buildings based on historical research. It has been used as the location for many TV dramas and movies.

Various events are taking place and the gold panning experience is held during the summer festival.

Address: Iwayado Esashi-ku Oshu-shi Iwate-ken

Homepage of Esashi-Fujiwara Heritage Park

April 4, 2017


There was a village of gold miner near the Tachiyazawa-river in the old age. There is no one who makes living by gold digging now, but there are people who dig gold as an individual hobby.

The event” Get rich quick Class” is held once a year.
The instructor will explain the history of gold digging and Japanese tools. After the lecture, you will receive guidance on gold panning in Tachiyazawa-river.

Address: Syounai-machi Higashitagawa-gun Yamagata-ken

Homepage of Tachiyazawa-river

March 31, 2017

Hosokura Mine-park/Japan

Hosokura mine was a leading mining company of lead and zinc in Japan, it has a history of 1200 years. This mine closed down in 1987 and now it is a theme park using tunnels. The work scenery has been faithfully reproduced in the tunnel. Cultural assets such as ancient documents are displayed in the exhibition room. You can experience gold panning in the pool.

Address: Nangou Uguisuzawa Kirihara-shi Miyagi-ken

Homepage of  Hosokura Mine-park,389,63,167,html