We had light rain with expectations that it would end mid-morning and as we planned caught an early bus to Ryugashido Cave. This is a 1000 meter long limestone cave with over 400 meters open to visitors. It has a year-round temperature of 18C. I have visited many caves throughout Japan and this one has become my favorite. There are several waterfalls with the last being the Grand Golden Falls, where you climb down from the top and go halfway to the bottom. At the end of the tour there is a very good museum, which explains everything you want to know about Japanese caverns, even the bats who reside here. Before you leave the grounds make sure to dangle your feet in the "best cool foot bath" in all of Japan.
Staying on foot we traveled to Iinoya Castle Ruins, which turned out to be some large rocks on top of several hills, revealing some very nice views. We continued on to Iinoyagu Jinja Shrine and the spectacular Ryotanji Temple. Founded in 733 there is a lot of interesting history, so make sure you take the tour, because near the end you will see the Ryotanji Garden, a National Cultural Asset. We visited at just the right time for a very colorful rock and floral display. The lady in charge, who spoke English even let us into a closed off hallway where the view was the best for taking pictures of the garden.
It was past lunch time and on the way to Kanasashi Train Station we came upon Hikumaji Soba Restaurant. It was very crowded, a sign the food would be good. It was everything we expected, including the owner moving me to a different table, so I would not have to sit on the floor.
After lunch we had an hour and a half train ride to Kakegawa to see the 500 year old castle, and arrived just at 16:30, the castle closing time. We climbed the stairway to the top and took pictures, walked around the garden, and ended up at a gift shop inside the palace that was also closing. We talked the nice lady into selling us the famous Kakegawa green tea, which I had promised to bring back for my wife. The tea we purchased had just been harvested.
We then took the JR Tokaido Line back to Hamamatsu and went in search of the top Gyoza restaurant in the city, which is Mutsugiku. We were advised to arrive early as they sell out very quickly. Luckily, we made it in time with just a few seats left and enjoyed some excellent gyoza. A fantastic way to end day two.
3 DAYS IN HAMAMATSU SERIES