Yamashita’s Gold

The tale of Yamashita’s Treasure begins with Japan’s plundering of its neighbors before and during World War II. As the Germans did in Europe, the Japanese squeezed vast fortunes from their Asian domain, creating a river of riches flowing toward the homeland.

The Japanese government intended that loot pilfered from Southeast Asia would be used to finance their war effort.

This was not the haphazard looting of a rampaging army – it was a highly organized effort – perpetrated on a massive scale by some of Japans most prominent citizens; allegedly including Emperor Hirohito and yakuza gangsters such as Yoshio Kodama.

Emperor Hirohito appointed his brother, Prince Yasuhito Chichibu, to head a secret organization called Kin no yuri or “Golden Lily“, to organize the looting.

Prince Yasuhito Chichibu – Leader of The Golden Lilly

Golden Lily teams systematically emptied treasuries, banks, factories, private homes, temples, churches, mosques, museums pawn shops and art galleries, and stripped ordinary people of what little they had, while Japan’s top gangsters looted Asia’s underworld and its black economy.

The stolen property reportedly included gems, golden Buddhas, coins, and precious metals of immense value.

Yamashita’s Treasure Route

Not since the Spanish conquered the Incan Empire in 1532 had the world seen such an aggressive looting campaign. This sort of enterprise took careful planning and an established network to transport the loot safely and efficiently back to the Japanese homeland.

The hub of the Golden Lilly’s looting network was the Philippine island of Luzon – it’s strategic location and proximity to Japan made it a natural and necessary trans-shipment point.

Map of Yamashitas Plunder route

During the early days of the war the looting network functioned as planned – treasures from all over South East Asia arrived in the Philippines daily – the loot was then transferred to freighters for the trip back to Japan.

But toward the end of World War II. The Allies were gaining control of the Pacific, making it increasingly difficult for the Japanese to transport the stolen treasure. Allied submarines and aircraft took a heavy toll on Japan’s shipping; some of the ships carrying loot to Japan were sunk.

So, instead of shipping the treasure back to Japan, Golden Lilly operatives began hiding the loot in caves and underground complexes throughout the Philippines.

The Japanese believed that when the war ended they would be able to keep the Philippine Islands as a concession for peace. They would then be able to dig up the vast wealth hidden there to rebuild their failing empire.

General Yamashita
General Tomoyuki Yamashita

Arriving in the midst of this frenzied activity was the Philippines’ new military governor, General Tomoyuki Yamashita, “the Tiger of Malaya” – a nickname he had won by conquering that complacent and ill-defended British colony.

As the Allied forces closed in, General Yamashita kicked the treasure concealment campaign into high gear.

Yamashita dug massive tunnels in the mountains outside Manila, some to depths of hundreds of feet, leading to the final ‘storage chambers’. Many of these tunnels were excavated just below the water table during the dry season, which meant that they would eventually fill with water – a deterrent to any future salvagers.

And if that were’t enough, most if not all of the tunnels were booby-trapped with 1,000 and 2,000 lb bombs and poisonous gas.

Allied Prisoners were used to dig the intricate tunnel systems and once the gold was safely stashed in the pits, the POWs were executed and buried along with the treasures. In rare cases, Japanese officers even had their own soldiers killed and buried along with the treasure, to protect the secret locations.

Yamashita also blasted caves in coral reefs, and sank entire shiploads of valuables in the sea around the islands. But in the end all this hard work was for nothing – the Americans invaded the Philippines in October 1944.

When the Allied forces landed on Luzon much of Yamashita’s treasure still had not been buried, so the General loaded the remaining loot on trucks and took it with him as his army retreated across the island.

Japanese and American Troop positions on Luzon Island – Philippines 1945.

Legend says that as Yamashita fled, he broke the treasure into many smaller stashes that were hidden along the line of his retreat, the bulk of the stashes are said to be concentrated in the mountainous area where Yamashita made his last stand against the invading US troops.

Yamashita eventual surrender on September 2, 1945.

According to popular lore, there are said to be 172 documented, official Japanese imperial burial sites (138 on land and 34 in deliberately scuttled ships), not to mention the numerous instances of loot buried by greedy officers and renegade soldiers.

The worth of all this booty is estimated to be as much as $3 billion at 1940 rates – the equivalent of over $100 billion today. According to various post-war estimates, the gold bullion alone totals 4,000 to 6,000 tons!

Many of those who knew the locations of the loot were killed during that final battle, or were later tried by the Allies for war crimes and executed.

General Tomoyuki Yamashita himself was executed for war crimes on February 23, 1946 taking the secret of his treasure to the grave.

Recovery Efforts

Many Yamashita researchers believe that a portion of the treasure has already been recovered by various parties in the sixty years since Yamashita’s Execution.

A great many facts have been accumulated, maps have been found, witnesses have sworn their testimonies, but the truth remains shrouded in mystery and lies. Two of the more credible and well researched rumors of recovery are listed below:

Clandestine Operation

Gold Warriors Book Cover

The first rumor reads like a Tom Clancy Novel. It’s said that, in October 1945, American intelligence agents learned where some of the Japanese loot was hidden. Agents of the O.S.S. (forerunner of the CIA) watched as Japanese troops buried treasure on the island of Luzon and once the Japanese were defeated they began a clandestine recovery operation that lasted until 1948.

Peggy and Sterling Seagrave’s book, Gold Warriors: America’s Secret Recovery of Yamashita’s Gold (2003), Is one of the best written on the subject and a great place to start your research on this fascinating tale. The initial edition comes with CD-ROMs containing 900 megabytes of documents, maps and photographs.

There were important reasons for all this secrecy. If the recovery of this huge mass of stolen gold became public knowledge, the countries and individuals that had been plundered could not lay claim to it; and the OSS/CIA had no intention of returning any of the plunder to its rightful owners.

Instead, they set up numerous front companies to launder the secretly recovered gold bullion. This is supposed to have become the basis of the CIA’s ‘off the books’ operational funds during the immediate post-war years, used to create a world-wide anti-Communist network.

General William Donovan, head of the O.S.S., supposedly knew of the gold recoveries, as did General Douglas MacArthur, and former US presidents Herbert Hoover and Harry Truman.

Marcos’ Gold

Perhaps the most credible rumor of recovery involves a young, up and coming Filipino politician named Ferdinand Marcos – who became successively a congressman, senator, president, and finally dictator of the Philippine islands.

Portrait of Ferdinand marcos
Ferdinand Marcos

It was rumored that Marco’s rise in politics was financed in part by Yamashita’s hoard. One of many stories about Marcos places him with a party of Japanese soldiers who hid gold in a tunnel at the end of the war.

Then sometime in the mid 1960’s he recovered $8 billion from a tunnel known as “Teresa 2”, which was located 38 miles south of Manila, in the Rizal province.

An interesting fact about Marcos is that he was the leader of the Ang Maharlika guerrilla force in northern Luzon during World War II. This would have put him in the center of the action as the Japanese made their final stand against Allied forces.

Whether the dictator ever found Yamashita’s gold is pure speculation – but it’s a well documented fact that he searched diligently, freely using his presidential powers and the nation’s armed forces in the hunt. When he declared martial law in 1972, Marcos took full advantage of the clout it conferred to step up his treasure-hunting efforts.

In 1975, Marcos awarded himself a monopoly on underwater recovery efforts, decreeing that all future salvage operations in Philippine waters would require his personal approval.

From time to time, scraps of information leaked from the Marcos inner circle indicating that the dictator did indeed find some sort of treasure. In the 1970s, Marcos hired an American, Robert Curtis, to search for buried treasure and remelt gold bullion to hide its origins.

Golden Buddha allegedly found by Rogelio Roxas

Curtis later told of seeing bars of gold “stacked from floor to ceiling” in one of the dictator’s provincial palaces. “The ingots”, he said, “were of a distinctive shape used around the time of World War II”.

The ‘gold’ Buddha allegedly returned to Rogelio Roxas by Ferdinand Marcos. Roxas claimed the Buddha he’d found had been solid gold with a cavity in the removable head that contained diamonds

Rogelio Roxas, a Filipino locksmith, is said to have found a one-ton, solid-gold Buddha and thousands of gold bars in a tunnel near Baguio in 1971, only to have them stolen by President Ferdinand Marcos.

In 1986 Roxas sued the Marcos estate for damages, but died from poisioning on the very day he was set to testify.

Marcos was eventually overthrown in 1986; It was reported that when he fled the country, U.S. Customs agents discovered 24 suitcases of gold bricks and diamond jewelry hidden in diaper bags.

In addition, certificates for gold bullion valued in the billions of dollars were allegedly among the personal properties he, his family, his cronies and business partners had surreptitiously taken with them when U.S. President Ronald Reagan provided them all safe passage to Hawaii.

Going for the Gold!

To this day, not one “officially accepted” Yamashita find has been documented. But despite all the disappointments and dead-ends, fortune hunters remain undaunted. Many individuals and consortia, both Filipino and foreign, continue to search for treasure sites.

Before you launch your own hunt for Yamashita’s Lost Gold, here are a few things to keep in mind…


Dozens have died digging up roads, riverbeds and mountainsides in a relentless pursuit of Yamashita’s gold. For example, in late 2000, two men were buried alive when a tunnel collapsed near the Mindanao town of General Santos after they had dug as far as 24 feet.Four others suffocated in Lumban, Laguna. And in 1998, three men were killed in Nueva Ecija in Luzon province when a tunnel they had dug caved in.

Con Men

As many of these recovery projects have ended in failure, a side industry has emerged based on the fever itself. Foreign investors are often enticed into funding the digging of holes known to contain nothing or sold “treasure maps” of questionable origin –  such as the one to the right →If you are tempted to take up the Yamashita challenge you might want to read this article first, which tells how a 74-year-old man lost his life savings by investing in a Yamashita scheme.

Sharing With The Man

The Philippine government has some pretty strict, and well enforced guidelines for would be treasure hunters operating in their territories. Many expeditions have been escorted by the Philippine Military, who stand guard night and day to make sure that the government gets their fair share of the treasure – which is listed below:

  • For Treasure Hunting within Public Lands – Seventy-five percent(75%) to the Government and twenty-five (25%) to the Permit Holder.
  • For Treasure Hunting in Private Lands – Thirty Percent (30%) to the Government and Seventy Percent (70%) to be shared by the Permit Holder and the landowner.
  • For Shipwreck/Sunken Vessel Recovery – Fifty percent (50%) to the Government and Fifty percent (50%) to the Permit Holder.”


There are a lot of people leaving comments below about having found markers or maps that they believe are related to Yamashita’s Gold.   The Owners and editors of this site in NO WAY endorse any of these claims. In fact we are pretty sure that many of them are scams concocted to try and separate people from their money.

But since we have no way of knowing which comments are genuine and which are scams – we just publish any that sound remotely authentic as we don’t believe in comment censorship.

So, if you contact any of these commentors do it at your own risk, and if you decide to invest in any recovery efforts, please do your due diligence!

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692 thoughts on “Yamashita’s Gold”

  1. Meron kaming nakitang cemento sa gitna ng ilog at may bato na nakadikit sa cemento na may sulat na X ano ang meaning sa X ,salamat.

  2. Hi,

    Im jay, im doing research of the so called markers and signs. Resently my younger bro engage in digging treasure. To make a long story short now im finacing them. With all the noble and kind hearted people digging now, they reach to the point that they saw quite several makings. First, when they started, they found out heart shape stone then moving forward found too much tree leaves down under with the kuhol inside. What does it means? Ive read that with this markings means its a huge treasure inside. Yesterday they found out that the soil under is becomming rock-hard. Can advice me for this? Thanks!

  3. hi to all TH.. can u please interpret this? in the land of my father her in north cotabato ther is a Y form of river on that erea ther is a big rock as big a normal house. on that rock we found a turtle rock beside. that turtle have no head no legs and no tail, but ther is a crack in tail part pointing to the V point of the Y river and we found also a white rectangular stone carved with 2, what is the meaning of that 2.

  4. hello iam new in this forum treasure.net here’s my story we have a land owned by my uncle place is callawa davao city the place former garisson of japananes, this land had been detected in satelite in japan and we use local treasure scanner also detected, the problem is to get the gold, if someone willing to finance to bring up bakhoe , equal share in all items if someting recovered, can u help us guys any interested pm or txt me , the land detected 17 six truck of japanese full of gold bars burried bar down, also in old water falls in the area, the land in private owned by my uncle, there is no problem in that area what ever operation made because its is private my uncle land consist of 13 hectars , one thing is the japanese people is always in the area to find where is the water fallas is located but my uncle deny of it, because we want to get that treasure in our own.. hope to here u guys soon as ur are willing here;s my +639202568245 franco davao city philippines , god bless

  5. We are digging the Cave Via Land , Because the entance of cave is in the water ( river). we are digging for 16 meters., and we cannot proceed because of the water . we use water pumps but still has a problem. according to the Man who has discover about the Gold he said this treasure is the one of the biggest treasure in the Mindanao area. (Philippines ). I hope you can share your side for this. thanks.

    • Hi im kian can you please give me a treasure map in libjo dinagat island and if you gave and if i found a treasure im giving a share please contact me at my cell no. 09507645189

  6. another concern is W dig also to other area of our land, we found block sand and number who right down in cloths. we dont know whats is the meaning of that thning. thnak you ! 🙂

  7. hey Sir donald,..im not sure if u remember me. we’ve meet in san farancisco agusan del sur at Mlhullier pawnshop. try to reach me i have so many interesting informations for you.. maybe we can work together if u like… im currently the operations manager of a minning company here in rosario agusan del sur..

  8. I know a positive site where people says there is a treasure. They never dare to dig the treasure because of the lack of equipments. I saw the stone with a lot of japanese symbols. I need some help from those who knows a lot about japanese symbols
    email me at gedmark11@gmail.com or contact me at +639278170265

  9. I have a gold detector and am willing to help find buried treasure. Presently I am in Cebu, but I am willing to travel for a special opportunity.

    You can email me or contact me on Skype ID michaelspire

  10. An empty concrete Jap burial site contained two empty Jap beer bottles. One end pointing east and the other end pointing north.Somebody made a huge ground opening a few meters away, left it and stopped his business. He is now deceased. Are there more sites around this area?

  11. How about sites in Samal? There is a cave in Samal with a small entrance right an overlooking site fronting Kingking. The cave is not yet explored.Curious about the adjacent lot because the sides of the hill looks like been cut.Rock formations inside the lot.

    • Hello Angie,

      I just came accross of this site and found that you are also from Bataan. I had been doing a research about treasures on our province left by japs. I too have my own findings that you might found very interesting. Please let us discuss further through e-mail: hulikasacctv@gmail.com

  12. Hi! would anyone enlighten me about the findings we got in our place such as big rounded stone (size like basketball) with perfect hole dented at the center and piles of long-flat clay stones about 1.5 ft-2 ft long size. We tried to break the rounded stone and we found out little stones inside? Thanks

  13. Could you interpret the signs for me? Their is a round rock about 4 feet in diameter radius only(not a perfect circle rock). There is a symbol at the sides of this rock or should we say northside, eastside, southside and westside. IV symbol is on the eastside. Then there’s a drill hole in the north and westside. At the southside their are 2 arrows. All of them are aligned each other on the sides of that rock. I’m looking forward for your response and thank you in advance. Kudos TH’s!

  14. Hi sir good day….

    I discover sign of a half moon rock formation facing the land of my father with diameter of 20 meters. located at in front of the beach and is visible during low tide. A small rock, flat in shape and has a diameter of 1 meters located at the right side of base of the corner of half moon rock formation. The size of my fathers coco land has a beach front of 20 meters(white sand). many foreigner inquire f the land is not for sale… please guide me what to do or where the exact location of the buried treasure located . contact me at cell no, 09989804504

  15. my grandfather owned 150 kg platinum. he said , he found it in his farm where the jap hides juring ww2… many markings are found in the sites… including perpect 360 degree hole in rock, x mark,heart shape rock, post in the center of the falls, bottles in caves,haft moon drawn in big stone.. is this a signs of real treasure? little help here f it s..

  16. good day sir.. i have verry confidnecial location and have verry positive area this cave by the japanese soldier the cave have bad smell and seems like a cianide gas the living wetness are still alive he is japanese veteran soldier.. there are 8 boxes but the 2 of us are big..so can u give me a suggest what we going to do the operation? i want a true person if you enterest me this is my personal contac number..+639507663782

  17. please help me identify if what is this?

    At first look, its just like a big black stone,but is a mixed sand pebbles and asphalt.it is Egg shaped with 7.5 feet in length from end to end ,5 feet in height and 4 feet wide. There’ s a hole near below.

  18. Hello can you reach me please i have something to show you here in Zamboanga because weve found a Japanese Symbol and it is YAMASHITAS TREASURE, I found it in the rock being graved

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