Around the turn of the 20th century, mining towns sprang up around Japan to meet the nation's growing demand for mineral resources. Communities flourished and grew rapidly, developing a culture of their own. But as the seams became depleted and prices fluctuated, their decline came even faster. Now, a century later, those towns are looking for ways to build a new future. On this episode of Journeys in Japan, we look back at 3 visits to mining towns, charting their changes and finding out what makes them special today.