白蓮洞

Byakuren-do - Byakuren Cave - White Lotus Cave


Useful Information

Location: 298-81 Tsuchikura, Kamiarisu, Sumita-cho, Kesen-gun, Iwate 029-2501.
In the village Tsuchikura, a part of Sumita. Sennin-Toge motorway 283, exit Rokando, between the long tunnels between Tona and Kamaishi, only 800 m from the exit.
(39.2432626, 141.6858398)
Open: closed.
[2022]
Fee: closed.
[2022]
Classification: SpeleologyKarst cave
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System
Dimension: VR=513 m, T=5 °C.
Guided tours: self guided
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: no
Bibliography:
Address: 滝観洞 - Rokando, Tsuchikura−298-81, Kamiarisu, 029-2501 Sumita, Tel: +81-192-48-2756. E-mail:
Sumita Town Hall and Sumita Town Tourism Association, 88-1 Kawamukai, Setamai, Sumita-cho, Kesen-gun, Iwate 029-2311, Tel: +81-192-46-2111.
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.

History

1958 cave visited by the female poet Byakuren Yanagihara (*1885-✝1967).
1975 cave opened as a show cave named 滝観新洞 (New Rokan Cave, New Waterfall Cave), in addition to Rokan Cave.
1983 cave renamed 白蓮洞 (Byakuren Cave, White Lotus Cave) after the poet.
11-MAR-2011 damaged in the Great East Japan Earthquake, cave temporarily closed.

Description

白蓮洞 (Byakurendō - White Lotus Cave) is famous for the 大広間 (Great Hall) with exceptional speleothems like rimstone pools and cave coral. There are bacon rinds and stalactites and stalagmites. As typical for Japanese caves, the names of the speleothems are most important. Here six stalagmites show six worshipers or Bodhisattva, each has a name: White Lotus Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva, Six Jizo Bodhisattva, Thousand-Armed Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva, Water Child Jizo Bodhisattva, Child Raising Jizo Bodhisattva, and Enmei Jizo Bodhisattva. There is no actual religious background, these are only names given to stalagmites, but it attracts a constant stream of worshippers.

When the cave was discovered so close to Rokan Cave, it was simply named New Rokan Cave. That's obviously nonsense for the show cave, because Rokan Cave actually means Waterfall Cave, and while Rokan Cave has a waterfall, this one does not.

The cave was renamed in 1983 after the female poet Byakuren Yanagihara (*1885-✝1967). There is an inscription in the cave which is thought was written by her. She visited the cave in 1958 at age 73, obviously she also visited only the harmless parts.

神代よりかくしおきけむ滝つ瀬の世にあらはるるときこそ来つれ
The time has come when the world of Takitsuse, which I have kept hidden since the days of the gods, will be revealed

Her life was lately the background to a popular Japanese NHK TV series named Hanako to Anne. Yukie Nakama plays Renko Hayama, the role is based on the life of Byakuren Yanagihara. But not on the autobiography she wrote it is based on

The website is not very informative, but claims that the cave is closed because of the 2011 flood. It also claims the same for the neighbouring Ryuga Cave, which is definitely open. On the Wikipedia page, however, only this cave is described as closed, although neither a reason nor a planned reopening is given. Unfortunately, we cannot say what the current status is at the moment. Presumably, this cave is currently closed, but we do not know whether this is actually due to the flood that occurred 10 years ago or whether it is caused by Corona.