|Props for railway for coal trolleys|
Despite few people know that in these days, Iriomote Island provided coals in good quality, once there were some mines. One of those was the Utara Mine, which was located at upstream of Utara River, a branch of Urauchi River, and it was the biggest mine in Iriomote. There, a large village was formed mainly with coal miners, even including theaters. It was prosperity that cannot be imagine from the present status of Iriomote. However in contrast, the miners were forced to work like slaves and many people died there with a endemic disease of malaria, who could not return to their native places. After the world war II, the mines in Iriomote was closed one after another owing to a drain of recourses and reduce of demand, now their ruins together with the many victims are quietly sleeping in the jungle.
To access the Utara mine ruins, we have a broad path along Urauchi River from a pier of the sightseeing boat, we can get to the ruins for about 10 minutes walking. Also, we can get there by a rental canoe, going up the Utara River. We can enjoy majestic nature of Iriomote, while we should know the other aspect of Iriomote to visit this place.
|A machine shack||Foundations of building|
|Tableware left in jungle||A water tank|
|Concrete props for railway||
People who would like further information about the mines in Iriomote, a book of Iriomote Tanko Shashishu (a photograph collection of Iriomote Mines) which is written by Takeshi Miki and published by Nirai-sha would be recommended. You can purchase that book through on line. For details, please click the link. Also, we have another book of Okinawa Iriomote Tanko-shi (History of Iriomote Mines, Okinawa) which is written by the same author.
You can watch a movie of the Utara Mine ruins filmed by Mr. Sara, by Windows Media format (wmv) streaming file. It is played by Windows Media Player. Refer to here. While, it will take a time for buffering owing to the large file size, so please be patient for a file until the beginning of play.