源三窟

Genzan-kutsu - Genzankutsu - Genzan Cave - Genzan Grotto


Useful Information

Location: Shiobara-tyo, Tochigi.
Open: APR to NOV daily 8:30-17.
DEC to MAR daily 9-16.
[2020]
Fee: Adults JPY 600, Children (6-15) JPY 400.
Groups (20+): Adults JPY 500, Children (6-15) JPY 350.
[2020]
Classification: SpeleologyKarst cave
Light: electric.
Dimension: L=40m.
Guided tours:
Photography:
Accessibility: yes
Bibliography:
Address: Genzankutsu, 1118 Shiobara. Nasushiobara, Tochigi 329-2921, Tel: +81-287-32-2338, Fax: +81-287-32-3208.
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

1909 or 1910 opened to the public.

Description

源三窟 (Gensan Cave) is located in the Shiobara Onsen village in the mountains of ​​northern Tochigi Prefecture. The volcanic activities heat the water and are responsible for the formation of the cave. The cave was named after

According to legend Minamoto no Yoshitsune, the brother and general of Minamoto no Yoritomo was hiding in the cave. He fought successful during the Genpei War and won it in the Battle of Dan-no-ura in APR-1185, defeating the Taira. He returned to Heian-kyō and married Shizuka Gozen. But his brother Yoritomo feared that he was more popular than himself, and nullified the awards and titles he had received from the emperor. The emperor and other generals of Yoritomo successfully created distrust between the brothers. All culminated in a fight between the brothers, and on 09-OCT-1185, Yoritomo sentenced Yoshitsune to death, who became such a hunted man. He fled with his wife, carrying his unborn child, but then she was left behind, and soon taken into custody by forces loyal to Yoritomo. There are different version what happened to them. The official history of Yoshitsune goes like this: Yoshitsune eventually made his way to Fujiwara no Hidehira, and lived under his protection. When he died his son Fujiwara no Yasuhira promised to honor his father's wishes and continue to shelter Yoshitsune. But then he caved to the pressure from Yoritomo, betrayed Yoshitsune, and forced him to commit seppuku. Yoshitsune's head was preserved in sake, placed in a black-lacquered chest, and sent to Yoritomo as proof of his death.

But the local lore, told at the cave goes like this: Yoshitsune was captured by Hachiro Shiobara, a local castle owner, but he recognized Yoshitsune. Fearing repercussions he released Yoshitsune but gave him no help. Then Yoshitsune found the cave and lived inside the cave. The army of Yoritomo continued to search for him but could not find him. But finally when he used the water of the cave to wash his rice, the water became white and flowing out of the cave mentioned by the scouts of his enemy. He was discovered by Yoritomos army and killed.

There are numerous versions of this story, and there are numerous caves, where Yoshitsune hid, despite the historical facts. Nevertheless, there is some archaeological evidence that this cave was of some importance, as some 150 pieces of armor were discovered in the cave. They are on display at the adjoining armor museum. The museum also shows historic swords and matchlock rifles.