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An Indiana Jones adventure an hour from Tokyo "The Hundred Caves of Yoshimi "

                                                                                                                                                                           Dec.12.2017

matthew

Hi! I am Matthew Komljenovic, I study at Saitama University and love to travel, and make friends.

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Although Tokyo offers a million sites and attractions, there’s little space for one to stretch out their arms and breathe in fresh air.

It doesn’t take very long before one grows tired of taking mosh-pit packed trains numerous times a day.

If you consider yourself a bit of an adventurer like me, you’ll be surprised that Japan offers a range of attractions just outside the city.

However, a lot of these attractions are crowded or too organized to freely explore. After living here for 7 months, I discovered a place just North of Tokyo which will truly take you to the past and make you feel like an archaeologist. 

 

The Hundred Caves of Yoshimi 

Somewhere in between the 6th and 7th century, a network of tombs were built in the mountains, and have somehow been preserved until now.

The caves spread around the entire Higashiyama Area, and much more than a hundred caves have been discovered since they were excavated.

The caves are an extraordinary place to sightsee, but has not yet caught the eye of most travellers.

The area offers hills with spectacular views, caves with an underground network of tunnels, bushwalks through castle ruins and an artefact museum

 

How to get there

From Ikebukuro Station, catch the Tobu-Tojo Line (Dark Blue Line) to Higashimatsuyama Station and then the Hundred Caves Entrance Bus (Bus with this sign百穴入口) from the East Exit of the station to the Hundred Caves Entrance.

After getting off the bus, you’ll be greeted with an anime-like river running parallel the caves (left picture).

Walk past the river and you’ll hit Iwamuro Kannondo (岩室観音堂) (picture right).

Walk up here into the Kunishiteishiseki Matsuyama Castle Ruins (国指定史跡 松山) to begin the adventure. 

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 Although not fully exploring this area myself, it offers a lot of space to climb, hike and walk along artificial rock paths created hundreds of years ago. Once at the top, you’ll find the castle ruins as well as remnants of the moats that were once around the castle. The peak offers beautiful views of the Higashiyama Precinct.

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 Once you feel satisfied exploring the castle ruins area, head to the cave entrance, perpendicular to the river. The fee is 300 yen. Upon entry you’ll see the caves along the mountain face spread out.

The sight itself is impressive, but what’s better is that your allowed to enter any of them freely.

The insides of the caves are connected, making you feel like your inside Tomb Raider-like catacombs.

Right of the entrance, there is a pottery museum with ancient artefacts and pottery classes for those interested.

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 The entire area will involve quite a lot of walking and climbing.

You may also get messy or dirty, so make sure to wear comfortable clothing.

The interior of the caves may become a bit tight, so try not to venture in too deep if you are claustrophobic.

The caves are suitable for those of any age, and a great place to take the kids.

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The Hundred Caves of Yoshimi and the surrounding Higashiyama Precinct is an excellent place to take a day-trip from Tokyo for those interested in exploration. The artefacts, catacombs, shrines and statues give the air an eerie presence, making you feel like you are truly uncovering something from the past.

 

         The Hundred Caves of Yoshimi 

Admission Fee Adults:¥300, Primary school students: ¥200
Opening 8:30AM – 5PM(Admisssion until 16:30)
Address 327, Kitayoshimi, Yoshimi-machi Hiki-gun, Saitama, 355-0155, Japan
Closed Open year round
Map Google map
Official site

http://www.town.yoshimi.saitama.jp/guide_hyakuana.html

CHOKOTABI http://www.pref.saitama.lg.jp/chokotabi-saitama/eng/spot/sp740.html