While most people associate Tohoku with rustic towns, tough winters, tradition, nature, and hot springs, there is certainly much to be found for those with a sense of adventure. While Iwate’s Ryusendo Cave is the most famous cave in Tohoku, the relatively unknown Abukuma-do Cave is larger, more exciting, and has much more to experience.
Perhaps because of lack of English advertising or not enough foreign visitors to generate buzz, this popular attraction for Japanese people still remains a mystery for far too many.
Step inside and traverse a paved path that snakes its way up, down, left, and right 600 meters through a mountain. Expect an hour to traverse its course, or likely an hour and half with all the pictures you will be taking. The lighting set up really brings the rare rock formations to life! Sometimes the path opens up to large chambers, while other times ducking or squeezing through some narrow areas may be required. It is amazing experience that is worth the visit to the relatively remote location.
For those that want even more adventure, an Explorer’s Course for a small separate fee offers an obstacle course route. Highlights include an underground stream and rock formations that can’t be seen on the regular path.
To reach the cave, first make your way to the largest city in Fukushima Prefecture, Koriyama. It can be reached in 80 minutes by bullet train from Tokyo, or 40 minutes from Sendai. Then take the Banetsuto Line 45 minutes to Kanmata Station. From there it is a five minute taxi ride, or 35 minute walk up a curvy mountain road to the entrance.
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Justin Velgus (ジャスティン ベルガス) is a long-term resident and promoter in the Tohoku region. He has been a content producer for JapanTravel.com since 2012 and was the Miyagi Prefecture Regional Partner 2013-2015. Justin’s over 300 published travel and culture articles come from a background of studying in Akita, teaching English in Miyagi through the JET Program, and working for the government in Fukushima. He lives in the gyutan capital of the world, Sendai. Justin is an expert in local culture and history. He was the first foreign volunteer at Sendai City Museum and regularly advises the local volunteer guide group GOZAIN , which he is a veteran member, on guiding techniques and hidden locations in the city even locals don't know about. In his free time he enjoys delivering original walking tours, such as his Dark Sendai Tour (ghost tour) or Kokubuncho Mystery Tour (redlight district tour). Justin is also a Certified Sake Professional.