The mist-wreathed ruin of Matsuo mine

MJG Haikyo, Iwate, Mines / Factories

Matsuo mine in the north of Japan opened in 1914 and closed in 1969. In its heyday it was the biggest mine for sulfur in the Eastern world. It had a workforce of 4,000 and a wider population of 15,000, all of whom were accommodated in a make-shift city in the mountains of Hachimantai park. The city was known as the ‘paradise above the clouds’ for its comparatively luxurious apartment blocks and near-constant ebb and flow of mist. That same mist nearly prevented us from finding the place at all.