One of the questions that most amateur THs (treasure hunters) often ask is, How to identify a Japanese buried treasure?” or “How to identify the hidden treasure of Yamashita?”

The majority of valuable treasures hidden by the JIA (Japanese Imperial Army) are actually enclosed within different types of containers. Although, some of these containers cannot be easily recognized such as hidden deposits “inside large rocks or trees”.

treasure chest

Here are the following clever methods used by the JIA in concealing their treasures:

1. Rock or Tree Enclosed Treasure Deposit

The JIA used some kind of powerful chemicals that can easily dissolve various forms of hard materials. This allowed them to make large hollows or holes on rocks and trees with less physical effort. Due to this unknown type of chemicals, they were able to store a lot of their treasures inside the bodies of large rocks or trees. Unfortunately, the only possible way to identify rocks or trees with inside treasure deposit are either through interpretation of the signs or the use EMDs (Electronic Metal Detectors).

Note: The same type of chemical was used by the JIA in marking their engrave signs as opposed to some THs who think that they used manual carving tools.

2. Yamashita Treasures are Covered in Thick Black Asphalt

Most amateur THs often get the wrong impression that once they uncovered a certain Yamashita treasure deposit, they expect that the objects are in their shining and presentable forms. Based on my own personal experiences, most gold items that we recovered were covered with “thick black asphalt”. Perhaps, the JIA covered them with this kind of material to maintain or preserve their shapes especially the golden Buddha.

3. Wooden Boxes and Metal Container Drums/Barrels

The most obvious storage objects used by the JIA for their Yamashita treasures were wooden boxes and “metal container drums or barrels”. Wooden boxes usually contains gold bars while stored in metal drums/barrels can be gold bars, gold/silver coins, jewelries or unprocessed precious materials.

4. Large Ceramic Bowls

The JIA also looted many “antique ceramic bowls/jars” during the WW2 (World War II) period. And just like the storage objects discussed above, they also used these precious antique bowls and jars as containers. They often stored small pieces of precious items such as unprocessed gold/gold dusts, old coins, diamonds and different sorts of valuable jewelries.

5. Human Tombs or Grave

Almost anyone around the world can easily identify a “human tomb or grave”. And as a form of respect, we are taught not to desecrate them by any means. Due to this reason, the JIA took advantage of it by constructing fake human tombs/graves where they actually stored their treasures.

6. Hard Block of Concrete

Many THs already encountered hard blocks of concretes. According to them, they all tried every possible means of breaking the concrete but they failed. These blocks of concretes are indeed “extremely hard to break” because the JIA used a special type of cement known as the “Japanese Bunker Grade II Cement”. Anyway, stored within these blocks of concretes are most likely gold bar items. Thus, a Yamashita treasure found is guaranteed especially when you found such kind of block laying somewhere at a remote or old abandoned places.

7. Behind the Waterfalls

Many THs (including me) are amazed how the JIA cleverly hid their treasures in various unique methods such as hiding them behind the waterfalls. Some THs claims that they probably diverted the water allowing them to hide their treasures before putting the water back to its original course.

8. JIA Military Truck Vehicles

One of my sources “Kuitchi Takazagi” (not his real name) who worked under the direct command of General Tomoyuki Yamashita revealed one of the largest deposits that they had hidden. This treasure deposit are composed of several military trucks containing massive amount of gold bars, old coins, golden Buddha and many other precious artifacts. He could still clearly remember that they drove those cargo trucks into a large tunnel and sealed the entrance with a powerful explosion.

9. Human and Animal Bones

Some THs especially the diggers have the bad habit of throwing objects that they thought useless or have nothing to do with the treasures they seek. This is often the case for the “human or animal bones”. To let you know, the JIA actually used bones as containers for some of their treasure deposits particularly small pieces of precious diamond stones.

10. Some Treasures are Exposed

Majority of Yamashita treasures hidden inside caves and tunnels are exposed. Once the secret chamber is discovered, anyone can easily identify and confirm that they found the hidden treasures. However, this is “rarely the case”.

99 Comments to “Identifying Hidden Japanese Imperial Army Buried Treasures”

    • I need a sign on how to find a gold bar


      Use the Search Form above. I have already shared a few sign pertaining to gold bar deposits.

    • Good PM Sir Elmo. What is the depth of give-away items? Thanks and God bless.


      Give-away items simply consists of shallow depths ranging between 1 to 3 feet only. Some of them are even exposed simply covered with grasses or thick moss.

    • Good day,

      Dear Mr. Elmo. What kind of deposit that JIA hide their treasures inside the rock?

    • Gold bars, jewelries and old coins.

    • I saw a stone shape like an arrow but looks like it was curve it looks like stone age style, I assumed they put something inside that stone.

    • It could be an arrow sign so you might want to explore the area where it is pointing at. If it is also heavy for its size then your instinct might be correct. Something could be inside it.

    • Morning sir Elmo, can you please give me your FB please. Thanks.

    • My FB is accessible via the small FaceBook icon that is located at the right side bar.

    • Good afternoon, Sir Elmo. We are from Kidapawan City, N. Cotabato. Can we find Japanese treasures on this place?


    • Hello Sir, we were digging a site and it is an old well. After hitting 3 or 4 feet, we found out an old barrel beside a large diamond shape rock. After digging further, we found out that the soil is already black and smells like its contaminated with soil, Is this a good sign that we are onto something?

    • I just want to ask sir. Is the wooden box with gold bars does contain an oil (langis) or something like chemicals(poison) and it smells fishy (sobrang lansa)?

    • Yes, the oil actually preserves the gold and mechanical traps from rusting. The terrible smell could be a poison so it is always best to avoid inhaling it.

    • Good Day Sir,

      May I asked you some advice on a thing we found in our operation?

      We encounter a color black concrete. Now it has 3 meters deep down. Until now, we are digging and we found a lot of woods and a many little pieces of asphalt. The Rock that we dig from it are a light black concrete and it is not very hard. Using a hummer, it turns to small particles like a sand. Do you really think we are almost near the Item? Please answer me.

    • May I know that very first signs that you encountered prior to digging that spot?

    • Sir good day,

      Do a thick black asphalt turn into a cement-like stones when exposed to sunlight?

    • It should melt.

    • Sir, I saw a sign like black string and that sign is a poison and which is true. You think Sir Elmo, there is a possibility of a hidden treasure?

    • Before I can confirm the odds of a hidden treasure at that particular site, are there any other signs around aside from that black string?

    • Sir, I have two foot treasure sign what will I do next?

    • Please describe that marker that you found. It is the only way I can make suggestion of what you need to do next.

    • Sir what is the meaning of a heart shaped rock and another rock that has a man-made hole in it?

    • That heart shaped rock sign is a confirmation that there is a hidden treasure on that site. The man-made hole indicate the number of deposit.

    • I encounter a sign in a concrete post near in our house. There is a sign in the corner like this (T.). And as far as I think it represent a tree. So I look around trees near on that sign and I found a broken kind of stone or kind of looks like jar with 3 holes. I found it beside the mango tree. Is it possible the tree has a heart sign engrave too?

    • You have to inspect the tree carefully and try to look for any possible engrave signs on it. If none, then you are probably looking at the wrong tree. Anyway, try inspecting other nearby trees as well especially the old once.

    • Sir, good day to you. We tried digging and we encountered something that is very itchy when we go under the water. We continued digging until 18 to 20 ft and we encountered a layer of sands which is color black. We tried puncturing the layer to determine how deep it is and within 8 to 10 ft, it is still a layer of sand. What does it mean?

    • You should take a sample and perform the process which I shared on my other posts on how to gold pan because this layer of black colored sands might be a raw or unprocessed gold.

    • Sir good day. We found a tomb with an eagle on top. We tried to break it using a mace and hammers but we failed. May I ask where to locate the weak spot of the grave so we can start breaking it.

    • The eagle on top provides a clue. In most common cases, the eagle's beak or eyes points into the correct spot.

    • We found a sign like human or animal bone, a bottle of liquor round and stout, accidentally we broke it. And another glass bottle of beer I think. Sir what do you think, is it a sign? Before we start digging the area, 3 years ago a Japanese treasure hunter went to us and tried to deal, 70/30.

    • Yes, those objects are signs. They actually act as guides in locating the hidden treasure. So as long as you continue on your excavation and you keep finding such objects, it means that you are on the correct path.

    • Hello Sir good day. Can I ask something? We are here in Marilog District Davao city. We can find here sign and symbols of treasures?

    • Yes, Davao and its entire district has a lot of treasure deposits waiting to be excavated. I have been on that place but there are some slight problems or issues which isn't really a big deal.

    • Hi Sir Elmo, we found a heart shape stone and when turn around its like a bird like symbol. It has also some carvings of semi-kind of tunnel like map. It was accidentally dug 2 feet under. What do you think it is? Its not a normal stone its some kind of cement with human carvings.

    • In my own opinion, you probably found an engraved map. You have to conduct further exploration on that site especially for any possible hidden tunnel.

    • Good evening Sir,

      We found hills w/ lots of concrete cement on it in different portion/angle. We focus on the 10 x 10m or more under the bamboo tree and now we are in the 14ft still concrete cement w/ vertical layers in it made up of apog and pebbles.

      This is a remote area Sir along and surrounded by big mountains. My questions Sir are;

      Are the concrete cements of this site interconnected to one another? Is there any possibility that this site could be a bunker or a tunnel?

      We found foot symbols,turtle, smell of rotten animal during our operation Sir. Above this Sir is a creek downhill and same also on the other side. Looks like the blasted some of the mountains to cover the concrete cements. Or to hide their valuables.

      – from Cebu province Sir Northwest area. Thanx in advance.

    • It is possible that they are interconnected leading to some sort of bunkers or tunnels around due to those concretes that you often uncover. Anyway, concretes are also good signs which could lead you into the correct direction. So when digging, it is best to follow the concrete until you can reach the other end.

  • Good day Sir Elmo, are rust in the wall under 100 feet indication of the presence of treasure deposit?

    • Yes it is possible. But don’t get your hope too high because it is actually quite common to encounter rusts naturally even at that kind of depth.

  • Good day Sir Elmo.

    I have a map of Hanil and this map is in our property left by the Koreans a construction firm name Hanjin. They want to buy our property but we insist.

    Can I contact you through FB or email?

    • You are so lucky that they just gave you such map. However, I have my own doubts that they probably secretly recovered it. Anyway, I preferred to be contacted via my FaceBook page. You can access it via the FB icon at the top.

  • Hi Sir Elmo, we have found 5 vintage b omb at a depth of approximately 10 ft for the preparation of footing of building in our job site. The following day there is this guy a rod showing directions for possible gold. We dig up another 10 feet and we have found a source of water on that dug up portion.

    My question, is there a possibility that there is a treasure below that water source?

    • Yes, there is a possibility. I can say there is 60 percent chance. But, the probability is increased depending on the additional markers or signs that you may encounter on your excavation.

  • Sir Elmo, I found a 6 sign on stone top. What does it mean? Then the rock looks like a concrete. The rock belong to the creek then the side of this rock, it have another big rock and a sign pointing the rock.

    • Can you describe these 6 signs on top of that rock? It’s they are the once that will tell details about the location of the hidden item.

  • Good day Sir, I saw a treasure hunter here in a cemetery. There are 2 graveyard. One is small for kids and the other one is big. He used a detector which gave a strong sign. When he open the grave he saw many stone like bar but not a gold. No human bone. What are those stones?

    • Try to confirm it if those are really stones or not. You have to know that gold bars hidden by the JIA are usually covered with asphalt. So my suggestion is to take one of those stone like bar as you describe then break it apart.

  • Sir, we dig and the first stone has an arrow sign then the second stone shape like teardrops and the third is a stone with a dot and I can’t read the letters very well. It is “chg” I think. We dig dipper and we found an empty bullet with a hole at the center and then we stop because the water flows very fast. Will you advise me what to do next Sir?

    • I think that you triggered a water trap the reason why the flow of water became so strong. You have to find a way on how to divert the flow of water then perhaps use a water pump. As for your project, I think it is an interesting site to continue working on due to those objects or markers that you uncovered.

  • Hi Sir Elmo,

    We already saw a black asphalt. What does it mean?

    • I already have a discussion about this topic. Please use the Search Form above to find the post.

  • Hi Sir Elmo, we saw some green tiles that is 950 meters above. Is this possible that we seen some treasures?

    • Those green tiles that you discovered are probably markers. You really need to do some work on it until you can confirm the presence of the item.

  • Hello Sir,

    Our place was visited by a Japanese years ago for he located his father’s helper who work for him during WW2, they check a school were previously military men excavate in search of a treasure, they suspect that in the vicinity of the school lies the buried treasure of JIA, the visitation of the Japanese may signify that there really is a buried treasure. Old neighbors also confirm that a big tree “Bayug” as local called it stand at the area until development of the schools officials started. It is maybe 30 mtrs far from our house, during the rainy season, we noticed that almost all rain waters runs towards our backyard and it produce little holes in the grounds and bubbles, could this be a sign that a something is buried down there where rain waters travel? Please share us some of your observations.

    Our location is south part of Davao Sur also famous of JIA’s camp. Thanks.

    • The exact location of the item can only be determines through signs and markers. So you have to look for them around your surrounds. Those holes and bubbles being formed when it rains sounds like that there is a tunnel under the ground. Anyway, you may want to give it a try to work on it if you have the time to spare.

  • Sir Elmo good PM. Thanks for this very informative column of yours. You really help us and provide guidance pertaining to all matters as far as THs, treasure recovery and security concerned. I would like to ask you Sir if we found and recovered a lot of gold treasure, where do we go sell those item?

    Thank you sir.

    • I already have a post about the answer to your question. Use the Search Form to find the discussion.

  • Hello Sir Elmo,

    We dug up a septic tank which is around 4m x 2m = 8m and 1.6m high. We end up a cement all around that area or 8 meters. We tried to break the cement with a jack hammer on a portion of .5m x .5m and we are at 2 feet still hammering the cement. The area is a beach lot. What will we do Sir?

    • It is interesting to find such hard concrete on a beach area. So my advice is for you to continue with the jack hammer until you are able to penetrate through that layer of concrete to check what’s underneath.

  • We found a black heavy looks like attache case, the detector says it is metal. How can we open/break the case? it is very heavy and hard.

    • Does your metal detector have a discrimination function? You have to know that majority of rocks especially those that are so hard to break do contain high contents of metallic properties. This is the reason why average metal detector will receive feedback from them. Anyway, it sounds like an interesting object that you need to break.

      I am also curious to know because something is probably stored inside.

      When it comes to the breaking process, you can use the traditional method of burning it until it cracks open. You second option is to purchase the chemical available from the black market.

  • Hi! I just want to ask what’s the meaning of a number sign 48.6. We dug 15 ft. There’s water and suddenly there’s an oil and it formed the number 48.6.

    We tried to get the number using a Tupperware and exposed it to the sun and then it dried and still its in the form number 49.6.

    What do you think is the meaning of that?

    • That number the way how it revealed itself is very strange. I think it is more of a premonition sign rather than a Yamashita. And, I think that there is a spirit involve lurking around. Anyway, I have to admit that I am clueless as well about what it means.

  • Sir Elmo, what is the name of that black tiny sand detected by detector mixed in cement at our site area?

    • I got a feeling that what your equipment had detected is probably some kind of unfiltered raw gold.

  • Hi Sir Elmo,

    We have a site that is almost 120 meters. According to my co worker, this area is a positive site but honestly, I have doubt now cost only locator we can used to locate the the Chamber.

    What do you advice?

    Thank you.

  • Sir good day to you,

    One of my men found a reddish casket (the color looks alike in your page) of the coast of nearby island here in Mindanao. But it has a chain and it is estimated to be at about 20 meter deep below water. Can I ask your advise?

    • My advise is simple, you should try recovering that casket out from the surface and open it. I have a huge feeling that there could be something valuable inside it. However, you also need to be careful because it might contain dangerous trap particularly a poisonous gas. Thus, wear a gas mask before attempting to open it.

  • Sir Elmo,

    What is the meaning of the turtle with one eye? We found a turtle shape rock.

    • I already covered the meaning of a turtle sign on another post. But on your case where the turtle has only one eye, it means that the deposit is hidden on one side. Assuming that it is the left eye, it means that you should focus your search on the left side area of your site.

  • Hi Sir good evening, how do you know if it’s a treasure seal? Are the treasures being kept inside the concrete that is very hard to break? Thank you

    • Yes, treasure seals often come in the form of hard concrete walls blocking the chamber deposit. In most cases, the seal have markings engraved on the surfaces which serves as confirmation.

  • Hi good day Sir Elmo, my friend locate our area and when we dig it up to 7 ft we encounter concrete and we use jack hammer. When we reach 10ft there’s a lots of leaf in the concrete. We are still in 11 ft and still concrete very hard to break.

    • So far, you are doing great. You just have to continue digging down further and break those hard concretes.

  • Sir Elmo, I found different kinds of bottle and other bottle is broken in 3 feet. What this is mean Sir?

    • Bottles are commonly used by the JIA as markers to indicate that the correct digging spot. Thus, you have to dig right on that spot where you uncovered those broken bottles.

  • Hi Elmo! Thanks for sharing your expertise on TH world. Let me share our project with you. I don’t know if how far we are to the target.

    Area: 1st Church since Japanese Occupation but its long gone now and the area is a residential lot

    1-5ft – back-fill, with stone markers indicating a 12ft x 12ft hole perimeter
    6ft – wood branch found in upright position (pendulum sign and a major marker pointing to a treasure)
    12ft – still back-fill soil
    12-15ft – gray layer
    15-18ft – green layer
    18-24ft – black layer (oily alketran), crossed brace treated wood about 4×4 inches in size
    24-34ft – cement stones with holes just like the neck of a bottle, bluish to violet fine sand margaha, clams, shells, crab pincers and whole crabs
    35-37ft – backfill loam soil, leaves of a buri tree, side logs found at four sides about a size of an adult tree with wood pillars on 4 corners even bigger than the side logs
    38ft – 1st set of red wood logs piled like a flooring, cement flooring more than an inch thick
    40ft – 2nd set of red wood logs piled again like a flooring, found again a cement flooring an inch thick, still with clams/shells but yellowish in color and cemented inside (very hard to break), found plant roots, chocolate brown layer with oil
    42ft – piled flat cement stones, still found Japanese timbering on 4 sides
    44ft – granulated sand like a sand found on the beach

    • At 42 feet, you mentioned that you encountered piled flat cement stones and there are timbers on 4 sides. I think that there is a possible change of direction on the depth but I am not still sure so in order to confirm, I suggest expanding the four corners or side. If it happens that you hit a certain portion on the corner that consists of soft layer of soil then you should try to continue digging that spot. It’s because there is a possibility that the Japanese had made tunnels since they knew how to use timbers.

  • Good day Sir, our place used to be a camp of Japanese army. I’d like someone to come over and have it detected. It’s been said that a backhoe operator found a box of gold here.

    • That’s interesting. Unfortunately, me and my team are currently on vacation. Anyway, how many boxes? Just one?

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