Shimomura-sensei and I discover an old mine in the mountains of central Japan. This area was once extensively mined for gold and most of the roads and trails leading into this rugged region have their origin in the feudal-era gold interests of the Tokugawa Shogunate. In fact, a famous form of sweetened Japanese rice cake called Abekawa-mochi (安倍川餅) owes the color of its golden sugary topping to the gold mining history of this area; as it is said that this type of mochi was first prepared to honor Tokugawa Ieyasu (1543-1616) when he passed through the region. This particular Shogun grew up in Shizuoka and was an active sponsor of the areas mining industry.
Shimomura-sensei and I decided to leave this cave unexplored as we could see rafters from the roof laying on the floor of the cave and the soil everywhere was quite saturated with water from recent rains. It is only our best guess that the mine was for gold and this was based on the history of the region. The canyon where we found this mine is quite remote and likely very rarely visited.
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