10 Most Beautiful Caves in Japan

Cave in Okinawa with Blue Water Nature
663highland, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
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Bryce was born in California, and raised near Seattle, Washington! He’s been living in Japan for about 5 years now, the first 3 spent studying at Temple University Japan. His main passion in life is writing and producing music, more specifically EDM if anyone is curious! He is very fond of snowboarding, cooking, traveling, playing video games; all of which he’d ideally enjoy with the company of his great friends. 

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Embark on underground odysseys throughout Japan as we unveil the country’s hidden gems—the breathtaking caves that are steeped in ancient mysteries and geological wonders. Japan has plenty of opportunities to see remarkable feats of nature, and the caves of Japan are just as memorable as any of them. From the frosty embrace of Narusawa Ice Cave near Mt. Fuji to the sun-kissed allure of Blue Cave in Okinawa, this guide promises an unparalleled journey. Let’s spelunk into the mesmerizing world beneath Japan’s surface, where each cave unveils a unique tapestry of history, culture, and natural beauty.

1. Narusawa Ice Cave

Nestled near Mt. Fuji, Narusawa Ice Cave offers a cool escape, literally! Venture into this frosty wonderland where shimmering ice formations create an otherworldly atmosphere. Our tip? Embrace the chill and wear layers, or go in the summer for a unique way to cool off. Marvel at the ethereal blue hues and feel a coldness that is strikingly different than what you might feel outside. Don’t forget to capture the magic—it’s an Instagrammer’s paradise. If you want the ultimate experience, be sure to go with our tour that not only includes this cave, but also the whole Kawaguchiko area!

2. Akiyoshido Cave

Miné-Akiyoshidai Karst Plateau GeoparkCC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Step into the expansive embrace of Akiyoshido, Japan’s largest limestone cave. Marvel at colossal stalactites and stalagmites that have patiently grown over millions of years. The cave is nearly 10 kilometers long, though only one of them is open to the public. Regardless, this is an impressive cave, and certainly one of the most incredible in Japan. The dripping water and the chances of witnessing indigenous bats make the cave seem alive in a way. The cave is located in Okayama, a prefecture full of things to do!

3. Ryusendo Cave

–[[利用者:あおもりくま|あおもりくま]](会話) 2020年11月21日 (土) 01:03 (UTC), Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

In the heart of Iwate, Ryusendo Cave welcomes explorers to witness a subterranean spectacle. Illuminated pathways reveal glittering underground lakes and delicate rock formations. Like the previous location, Ryusendo is another one of Japan’s incredible limestone caves. Multiple lakes and a river filled with clear, blue water are a natural wonder definitely worth exploring. With various vantage points, you’ll be able to get great views of all the spectacles and maybe even meet some of the Dark Knight’s buddies.

4. Blue Cave

Escape to the tropical charm of Okinawa‘s Blue Cave for a more interactive experience, where sunlight dances on crystal-clear waters. Snorkel amidst vibrant marine life or take a glass-bottom boat tour for an immersive experience. The cave is a remarkable must-try activity in Okinawa, without a doubt! But keep in mind that Okinawa is a paradise with a myriad of things to do, so be sure to bolster your itinerary!

5. Ryugado Cave

Venture deep into the recesses of Kochi Prefecture to discover Ryugado Cave, a natural art gallery adorned with shimmering calcite crystals that has been forming for over 175 million years. This cave, the Ryusendo cave, and the Akiyoshido cave make up Japan’s three most impressive limestone caves. Take a leisurely stroll through impressively illuminated passages, marveling at the intricate formations. For an added touch, join a guided tour to uncover the cave’s geological secrets that aren’t accessible with regular entry. 

6. Senbutsu Limestone Cave

Kazue Asano, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Flickr

Another impressive limestone adventure lies in the southwestern island of Kyushu in Fukuoka, a region with plenty to do and a vibrant culture. If you were intrigued by the idea of taking a dip in the Okinawa Blue Cave, but want a more cave-y experience like one of the three main limestone caves, then this is your best bet. Part of the cave you’ll actually be able to wade through. Be sure to bring the right gear for this! There are 3 different caves open to the public in this area.

7. Gyokusendo Caves

663highlandCC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Head back to Okinawa to embark on a subterranean adventure in Gyokusendo Caves, where a dazzling display of stalactites and stalagmites awaits. Wander through well-lit pathways stretching about a kilometer that showcase nature’s crystal craftsmanship. Aside from the remarkable display of stalactites and stalagmites (pop quiz: which ones on the ceiling?), the cave also boasts some beautiful waterflow surrounding the walkway, as well as a calming dripping sound.

8. Nippara Limestone Caves

Y. Hila, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Flickr

Escape the bustling Tokyo scene and descend into the tranquility of Nippara Limestone Caves found in Okutama, one of Tokyo’s best spots for nature adventures. Explore the cool, dimly lit passages and witness nature’s slow artistic process at play. The experience is embellished with colorful lights and even music that fills the cave. This cave is actually the biggest in Kanto, so it’s convenient that it’s so close to the incredibly popular area of Tokyo. 

9. Enoshima Iwaya Caves

Discover the coastal allure of Enoshima Iwaya Caves, where ancient myths meet panoramic ocean views. Marvel at the rugged beauty of sea caves and embrace the sea breeze. They also have a modest display that shows you the effect of running water over stone over long periods of time. The cave may not be as large as some of the others, but it is charming and a great experience nonetheless, plus it’s an incredible addition to an adventure at Enoshima, an already great experience that’s not too far from Tokyo.

10. Abukumado Cave

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In Fukushima, Abukumado Cave invites you to a symphony of underground wonders. Traverse through dimly lit tunnels adorned with mesmerizing rock formations. The cave is somewhat of a combination between Okinawa’s Gyokusendo Caves and the Nippara Limestone caves, so if either of those seem to be up your alley, then you’re in luck! Not only is this cave quite expansive and offers a lot to see, its also right next to a planetarium! If you get tired of looking in, you can also enjoy looking out! Either way, head to this area to enjoy some impressive feats of nature. Fukushima is also home to an incredible amount of nature spots, so be sure to do your homework if you’re a nature lover!

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