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Akiyoshido - Japan’s Largest Cave

  • Akiyoshidai Quasi-National Park draws in tourists with its natural beauty that is provided by the countless limestone formations, sinkholes, and caves spread across the plateau reaching out across 130 square kilometers. However, even with all of this, Akiyoshido Cave is a destination all of its own. Over three hundred million years ago, a movement in the Earth’s crust upheaved what was then a coral reef, leading to the formation of a karst landscape in this area, defined by unique limestone formations throughout the caves and the plateau in this park. The resulting limestone formations and stalactites have been forming over hundreds of thousands of years.

    Akiyoshido - Japan’s Largest Cave

    Akiyoshido - Japan’s Largest Cave

    Akiyoshido Cave stretches out over approximately 10 kilometers with a ceiling that is 80 meters high in places. Tourists are able to walk through the cave for a distance of about one kilometer experiencing the stalactites and formations. One of the most notable formations is Hyakumaizara which is a terrace formation and is named for looking like 100 plates have been stacked on top of each other. Another famous formation is Ogonchu, or the Golden Column, which has a height of around 15 meters. Be sure to also see the pillar resembling Mt Fuji, which is named accordingly.

    Akiyoshido - Japan’s Largest Cave

    Akiyoshido - Japan’s Largest Cave

    Akiyoshido - Japan’s Largest Cave

    Akiyoshido - Japan’s Largest Cave

    There is also a small shopping strip to explore and you can follow its blue mosaic tiled path to the scenic cave entrance which features a small waterfall. Beautiful streams of water continue to flow throughout the cave which has a maintained temperature of 17 degrees celsius throughout the year. All monuments have both the Japanese name and English translation, and there are also audio guides available in English. When you reach the end of the cave path, you can exit the cave via the elevator or turn back and walk the length of the cave again. The management of the cave have also recently been testing lighting installations in the cave and hope this can be a feature of Akiyoshido in the future.

    Akiyoshido - Japan’s Largest Cave

    Akiyoshido - Japan’s Largest Cave

    Akiyoshido was named by Emperor Hirohito in 1926 when he visited the cave to explore the vast natural beauty, and in 1952 it was designated a Special Natural Monument. The cave and the wider park are managed by the local government and if you are interested in learning more about the history of this region and the limestone formations then you can pay a visit to the Tourist Information Centre or Eco Museum. Make sure you go to the Karst Observatory to take in the view of the plateau and visit the adjoining cafe.

    Akiyoshido - Japan’s Largest Cave

    Akiyoshido - Japan’s Largest Cave

    Akiyoshido is accessible by a 60-minute bus from Yamaguchi Station to Akiyoshido bus station and will cost 1,210 yen each way. From here you can choose to walk to the cave or hire a bicycle for the day. Akiyoshido is open 365 days a year from 8:30-5:30 (March-November) or 8:30-4:30 (December-February). The admission fee for adults is 1,200 yen.

    Akiyoshido
    Address
    Yamaguchi Pref. Mineshi Shuhouchouakiyoshi 3506-2
    Phone
    Akiyoshi-dai Plateau
    Address
    Mimaki City Yamaguchi
    Phone
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