It’s amazing what you can unearth on a day out at the beach.

Treasure hunts aren’t only reserved for heroes in animated video games; when you have a metal detector in your hands, anyone can head out on a quest to unearth a mountain of coins and jewels. Or can they?

Our intrepid Japanese-language reporters Yoshio and P.K. Sanjun recently set out on a journey to find out whether they could get rich quick on the shores of Sagami Bay in Kanagawa Prefecture, at a popular beach spot close to the island of Enoshima, roughly 55 kilometres (34 miles) south of Tokyo.

Being late September, the peak summer bathing season was over, which meant the two had the beach pretty much to themselves, aside from a dozen or so surfers. Nobody else in the area was scouring the sand with a metal detector, so P.K. was keen to get started on the hunt, eager to find out what the hordes of summer beachgoers had left behind.

Using the metal detector was easy. P.K. simply had to hold the ring of the machine close to the surface of the sand, and then it would be able to detect metal up to 20 centimetres (7.9 inches) below the surface, letting out a series of beeps when an object was found.

Just three minutes after he started his search, the machine let out a beep. Excited, P.K. quickly pushed his fingers into the sand, hoping for a bright, shiny necklace or a 500-yen (US$4.55) coin, but what turned up instead was…a piece of scrap metal.

Oh well, he’d just started out after all, and there were still large tracts of beach to cover, so perhaps he simply had to keep his fingers crossed that his next discovery would be bigger and better.

▼ Well, it did turn out to be bigger but necessarily better…

After turning up two pieces of scrap metal, P.K. was beginning to lose heart, but he didn’t let that deter him from putting everything into the hunt. At a rate of about once every three minutes the metal detector let out its high-pitched beeps, and P.K. methodically reached his hand into the sand to dig out random items like…

▼ A battery…

▼ A lighter…

▼ And a Yakult drink top.

After turning up other small finds like pieces of wire and a rusty old nail, P.K.’s dreams of showering himself in coins and gold jewellery were quickly fading away. Even when the metal detector went crazy, beeping over a large area, all it turned up was a long tent peg.

Deciding to try their luck in a different area, P.K. and Yoshio moved over to a site where a summer beach restaurant once stood. A bustling hive of activity in the summertime months, where customers line up to enjoy light meals and refreshments, this area was probably their best chance of finding something worthwhile. As they began their search though, a tanned, leather-skinned man in his 60s approached them, quashing their dreams by saying:

If you’re looking for money, it’s no use. These days, people who visit the beach hut pay with the money on their travel cards, or with their mobile phones.
10 years ago, people used to find lots of stuff, going around in groups of five and picking up coins with metal detectors.
But now, it’s totally useless.

As he walked off into the distance, Yoshio looked at the ground forlornly and that’s when he saw it.

It was just there, sitting on the surface of the sand, like a gift from the gods to brighten his day.

A 10 yen coin!!!

The 10-yen coin, which amounts to about US$0.09, was old and tarnished, almost like a coin you’d find in a treasure chest. After their uneventful day, it was a thing of extreme beauty, and P.K. and Yoshio marvelled at the sense of excitement they felt by simply looking at it.

After two hours on the beach, this was their bounty. Which means they essentially gave the place a bit of a clean, and were paid roughly 4.5 cents for their work.

And because this is Japan, found money doesn’t go into your pocket, it goes to the nearest police station. If you think you might’ve lost 10-yen on a day out at the beach, it’s at the police station waiting for you!

Seeing as the day’s events were so riveting in their mediocrity, our treasure-hunting duo created this video of the day’s highlights:

A day out at the beach is never a bad day, so even though they came home with a bag of metal destined for the recycling bin, the laughs they had in the sunshine away from the office was an experience money definitely can’t buy.

Photos © SoraNews24
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