Asago (朝来市) is a city in northern Hyogo Prefecture, Japan.
Asago is served by the Sanin Main Line, which travels from Kyoto and Kameoka to Shinonsen and Tottori and the Bantan Line which runs from Himeji to Wadayama Station in Asago. The Limited Express Train Kinosaki provides the fastest connection to Wadayama Station from Kyoto. From Osaka, the Limited Express Train Konotori travels via the Fukuchiyama Line to reach Wadayama Station. From Wadayama Station, you can transfer to the Bantan Line where a lot of the tourist sites are located. Also departing from Osaka, but much less frequently than the Konotori, is the Hamakaze, but the Hamakaze takes a different route. The Hamakaze travels on the Sanyo Main Line to Himeji and then up the Bantan Line to reach Asago with stops in Ikuno and Wadayama en route to Tottori. Travelers from West Japan can transfer to the Hamakaze at Himeji Station.
Targeting individual sites or areas is relatively convenient. Takeda Castle and its castle town are accessible from Takeda Station. The castle town's historic temple district is located on the opposite side of the station and the trailhead to the castle is also there, so if you don't mind the hike, you can get around completely on foot. If you don't want to hike up to the castle, there is a bus, as well. The Ikuno Mines and Ikuno's historic district can be accessed from Ikuno Station. The historic district is within easy walking distance of the station but it is recommended to rent a bike if you want to reach the mines. Otherwise, it'll take about an hour to walk there.
If you want to see sites in separate areas, they spread out far beyond reasonable walking distance. The Tajimawaru Bus  is the only public transport connecting the various tourist attractions in the city (they also have connections to attractions in the city to attractions outside the city, such as Takeda Castle and Kinosaki Onsen). For Asago's attractions, the "Koseki no Michi" Route Bus (鉱石の道号) connects Wadayama Station, Takeda Castle's castle town (below the castle), the Mikobata Ore Processing Site Ruins, Ikuno Station, and the Ikuno Silver Mines. It is not a tour bus however, it does stop for 35 minutes at the Mikobata Ore Processing Site, which is otherwise inaccessible without an expensive taxi ride. That's enough time to see the site and get back on the bus. Reservations are required in order to ride the Tajimawaru Bus and each bus has its own seasonal length of operation, so check to make sure your bus with be operating during your intended travel date and reserve accordingly.
Without the Tajimawaru Bus, a combination of trains and other methods of transportation are necessary without a car.
- 1 Takeda Castle (From Takeda Station the trailhead for the 40 minute hike to the ruins begins on the opposite side of the station or take a bus to the parking lot at the top and walk from there). Mar-May 08:00-18:00, Jun-Aug 06:00-18:00, Sep-04:00-17:00, Dec-3 Jan 10:00-14:00, 4 Jan-Feb closed. Only the stone walls remain, but nevertheless the ruins are impressive. It is located above the clouds, so if you view the ruins from a nearby mountain on a day that is cloudy, you can see the castle standing over the clouds. This view has given rise to its nickname "Castle in the Sky". Adult ¥500, child free.
- 2 Asago Sculpture Park (あさご芸術の森, asago genjutsu no mori) (60 minutes by car or train; take the JR Bantan Line to Nii Station, then take a taxi for 10 minutes). 10:00-17:00, closed Wednesdays. A large sculpture park and museum. Adults ¥500.
- 3 Shirai Omachi Wisteria Park (白井大町藤公園). Open only during the wisteria season, typically the weeks around Golden Week (late April-early May), the park features a variety of wisteria trellises surrounding a central fountain. It bills itself as the "Best Wisteria in the San-in Region". Carp streamers are hung over the hill above the trellises to celebrate Children's Day.
- 4 Mikobata Ore Processing Site (神子畑選鉱場跡). Always open. The site was built to process what was mined from Ikuno Silver Mines. At its peak, it was the largest processing site in Asia. Like the mines, it is no longer in use, but the site has been preserved as a historic park. Free.
- 5 Ikuno Silver Mines (生野銀山). The mines were originally operated by Tajima Province and it is said that Takeda Castle was built in part to maintain and protect ownership of the mines, and battles were fought from the castle over control of the mines. As the nation was being unified, Oda Nobunaga and Toyotomi Hideyoshi took great interest in the mines and sent their own government magistrates to oversee the mines. During this time the mines were built up to maximize their silver production. In 1868 with the establishment of the Meiji Government, the mines were put under complete control of the government. It was such an important mine that it was put under imperial control in 1889 and you can see the Imperial Chrysanthemum emblem of the emperor on the entryway gates. It was sold to Mitsubishi 6 years later and they operated the mines until they closed in 1973.
Today, you can walk through a section of the mines. There are mannequins scattered throughout the mines showing various steps in mining and techniques with explanations. While they may seem like ordinary mannequins, they have gained fame as the Ginzan Boyz, attractive miner idols who have even produced their own song "Gingira Ginzan Paradise" in 2018 and have since produced more. They even have a French version in honor of Jean-François Coignet, who was brought to help modernize the mines to maximize efficiency during its heyday. There is one space in the mine where they play Ginzan Boyz songs and visitors can get Ginzan Boyz souvenirs similar to those you can get for other boy bands in the souvenir shop. ¥900.
- 6 Ikuno Silver Mine Culture Museum (生野鉱物館・生野銀山文化ミュージアム) (Just outside the entrance to Ikuno Silver Mine). Has information about the history of Ikuno Silver Mine and a large variety of rocks and minerals mined here. ¥100.
- Forest Adventure Asago (フォレストアドベンチャー・朝来).
- RoguRogu. Serves Ikuno Hayashi Rice.
- Cafe Argent (カフェ・アルジャン). A popular place for Ikuno Hayashi rice.
- 1 Hotel Areaone Wadayama (ホテルエリアワン和田山). Offers both Western rooms (rooms with beds), as well as Japanese tatami rooms (with futons).
- 2 Takeda Castle Hotel EN (竹田城 城下町 ホテル EN). Check-in: 15:00-18:00, check-out: 12:00. A modern hotel with a traditional atmosphere. Some rooms allow pets.