Japan

不二洞 – Fuji Cave in Ueno, Gunma

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For starters, sorry but this has nothing to do with the beautiful Fuji-San (Mt. Fuji). It is, however, still an interesting spot to visit if history, bats, and rocks are your cup of tea.

20160809_145913Fujido, or Fuji Cave in English, is a neat little cave located in Ueno, Gunma. As you travel the length of this cave, which is about 2.2km (just shy of 1.4 miles), you’ll make your way up many flights of starts and rocky inclines as you view various types rock formations, like stalactites and stalagmites. I was perfectly content to just marvel in awe at what nature can do when you leave it alone, but in case you’re curious, stalactites are formed from the ceiling by water dripping and stalagmites grow upwards from the grown from the water that drips. (Thanks, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration for that lesson.) Since there are a lot of rock formations that come from water, the cave is pretty damp and wet so you should be careful with your footing throughout the journey. If you easily get cold, you might want to bring a sweater just in case as the cave’s temperature is about 52 degrees Fahrenheit throughout the year. 

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As for what these caves are, besides a home for bats, there are little signs and audio throughout the cave with more information, however, everything is in Japanese. From what I could gather, part of the importance of the caves is that in the past people would come there to certain points when they were sick or to die. As you go through the caves, different areas have plaques with names of the spots, like “This World and That World”, which gave me the impression of crossing the passage from life to death. They even had a plaque near a location where you could hear the wind, but t was considered a spot of being able to hear voices of the dead. Creepy!20160809_151727

Once you make it out of the top, you are rewarded with an awesome view. You can choose to retreat to the bottom from the inside or you can be adventurous and walk the path down from the outside. I found it to be a little scary but it was overall enjoyable.

Once you reach the bottom, I suggest heading over to the nearby 上野村―スカイブリッジ- Ueno Village Sky Bridge. It is less than a five-minute walk away from the Fuji Cave. From here, you can get a beautiful view of the mountains, which I think will be beautiful in fall. After crossing the bridge (which can take about 5 minutes or longer if you want to stop for pictures and look around or are scared and just want to rush to the other side like me), you can grab some ice cream at the campgrounds on the other side. There is a restaurant there, but they weren’t serving food when I went so I am not sure how it tastes.IMG_20160809_154604

Fujido costs 800 yen for adults to enter. Both Fujiido and Ueno Village Sky Bridge are best reached by car.

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