Akiyoshi Cave

A spelunking adventure of the Japanese kind

By Tristan Scholze    - 1 min read

In the western tip of Honshu, Japan’s largest island, under a hilly karst plateau, their lies a hole in the ground. Not an ordinary, dirty, smelly hole. Rather, a large, well-lit, somewhat misty, surprisingly-noisy-at-times hole. Inside are hidden extraordinary things: secret passages with dragons, jellyfish climbing a waterfall, a hundred saucers, a thousand rice fields, a king, the goddess of mercy, and a gold pillar. Some of these can be seen within the images ahead, and many more will wait for you to behold in person. Although eventually the hole comes to an end, it flows out into the forests, mountains, and rocky steppe with creatures great and small beyond its gate. During this brief otherworld encounter, time, space, and thoughts of all these things merge into one. And a river runs through it.

Name in Japanese
秋芳洞—Akiyoshidō—Akiyoshi Cave

Getting there

Akiyoshidai is in the city of Mine, Yamaguchi Prefecture. Best visited by car, but accessible by bus. The pedestrian thoroughfare that connects the entrance of Akiyoshi Cave to restaurants, shopping, parking and the bus center is a 40-minute bus ride (1,170 yen, 1 per hour) from the Shin-Yamaguchi Shinkansen station or a 60-minute bus ride (1,210 yen, 1 per 2 hours) from Yamaguchi Station, both in Yamaguchi City. From Mine Station, it’s a 25-minute bus ride (200 yen, 1 every 90 minutes). There's also a reasonably-priced "Karst Taxi" service for transport in and around the park.

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Tristan Scholze

Tristan Scholze @tristan.scholze

I'm also known as Faer Out. I love learning about people and nature. I've traveled around the world and throughout Japan, and I hope to continue seeing and experiencing the wonder of this planet as long as I live.Based in Japan for nearly two decades, I'm the Regional Partner here for Fukuoka and Saga Prefectures. In addition to my work at JapanTravel, I have a language school called Rainbow Bridges English Academy in Fukuoka and am very interested in teaching, languages, communication, and photography, among other things. Recently, I've been a guest host on NHK World's J-Trip Plan for Caving Adventures in Western Japan as well as Exploration for Black Gold.I love heading downtown to meet up with friends for a night out as well as being able to hop on my motorcycle and be riding through forest-covered mountains or to sandy beaches in 20 minutes. This area is very photogenic and even after years of exploration, there are still plenty of places to discover each weekend! My photographs are available for purchase on iStock, Shutterstock, and Dreamstime or by contacting me.Please contact me if you have any questions about travel in Japan. I'd also be grateful for any follows on social media!