History of the Sahinai Kinzan (gold mines) in Shiwa, Iwate

Gold mining in Japan began in ancient times. Iwate was one of its oldest producers. Most of its gold was found in creeks, rivers, and mines in Sahinai, Shiwa.

In November of 1622 (Genna year 8), Yajiro Tanba, a man from Kyoto, first came to Sahinai. He brought more than 1,000 miners and began large scale extraction of gold. At its peak about 13,000 people settled in Sahinai. Many folk songs and dances were created in that era.

Some early miners were Christians. Against the government’s prohibitions, they secretly but zealously spread Christianity, praying inside the mines. From the way they hid crosses in their gravestones, history shows how difficult it was to spread Christianity in those days.

Spirit of Sahinai Kinzan Daiko

To preserve the history and heritage of Sahinai gold mines, Sahinai Kinzan Daiko was established on September 27, 1987. The group symbolizes Sahinai Kinzan, the mountain in which the mines were located. Its creation helped build a vigorous and strong community through new cultural activities.

Celebrating our 25th year, we had a concert titled “Unite Our Hearts” in February 2012.

Kinzan Matsuri: A Passion for Playing Drums

Kinzan Matsuri is an annual festival in Sahinai. It has become a traditional and historical event in the district. This festival, held on August 14, provides an occasion for wadaiko (Japanese drums) performances. The Sahinai Elementary School provides a special stage, and people of all ages from all over the district come together to perform. The performances include nursery school students, elementary school students, junior high school students, parents, and grandparents. Even the young people compose and direct their own, original music.

Many people from Shiwa and its neighboring towns come to see the drum performances, and thanks to Kinzan Daiko and the community spirit of the district, Sahinai has become a fascinating place for many young people.

Past International Performances
March 3-5, 2006
Apple and Grape Harvest Festival in Stanthorpe, Queensland, Australia
A biennial festival in Stanthorpe, Shiwa’s sister city

May 5-6, 2002
GOD Bless America - Japanese Drum Concerts in New York
A memorial concert for the 9.11 attacks

About Shiwa Town
Shiwa Town sits in the center of Iwate Prefecture in the northern part of Japan. Its population is about 34,000, and our main industry is agriculture. Major products are rice, apples and grapes. Iwate Prefecture is one of the areas affected by 2011 Tohoku earthquakes and tsunamis.

About Community of Sahinai
Sahinai is in southeast part of Shiwa. Surrounded by mountains and hills, it is the smallest of Shiwa’s nine districts with about 1,000 residents. Over 400 years ago, there were gold mines, and people came from all over the country to work the mines. It’s said that around 13,000 people lived here at that time.




2006年3月3-5日オーストラリア・クィーンズランド洲スタンソープ市で開催された「Apple and Grape Harvest Festival 2006」に出演、言語の枠を超えるパフォーマンスで確かな手応えをつかむ。


2016年3月4-6日オーストラリア・クィーンズランド洲サザンダウン市スタンソープで開催された「Apple and Grape Harvest Festival 2016」に10年ぶりに出演、更に響くパフォーマンスで人々の心をつかむ。

2017年3月5日、創設30周年記念公演「THE KINZAN」2回公演。佐比内の地を拠点に若者が集い更なる和を響かせている。




2-35 katayama Sahinaikouminkan, Sahinai, Shiwa-cho Shiwa-gun, Iwate, 028-3316, Japan Sahinaikinzandaiko

佐比内金山太鼓保存会 代表 沼田 充範

電話 FAX 019-674-2626


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