Hashidate-do Temple, Chichibu.
MAR to NOV daily 8:30-16:30.
Adults JPY 200, Children (6-15) JPY 100.
|Light:||Incandescent Electric Light System|
|Dimension:||L=140 m, VR=30 m.|
|Guided tours:||self guided|
|Address:||Hashidate Limestone Cave, 708 Kamikagemori, Chichibu, Saitama 369-1872, Tel: +81-494-24-5399|
|As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
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橋立鍾乳洞 (Hashidate Limestone Cave) is a small cave and not very spectacular, but it is the only cave open to the public in Saitama Prefecture. If you are in the area the visit of the temple and cave is worth a visit. The temple is really weird, looks a little like A Chinese Ghost Story. And the limestone cliff above is stunning.
From the temple there is a steep trail with many steps leading down to the cave entrance. The cave starts low and narrow and does not improve, at least it goes upwards all the time. The trail inside the cave is made of concrete, but quite creative, each step has a different height and sometimes its just a ledge on the slope of a breakdown. Fortunately the cave is so low and narrow, there is always a wall get a hold. The exit is probably the smallest part of the cave, a steep shaft bends into a passage and has only one meter in diameter. From the exit leads another trail with steps down, back to the temple.
This is not a cave with beautiful speleothems, but it is really worth a visit. If you have mastered the squeezes, it's like a re-birthing ceremony. Probably that is the reason why it is part of a temple. A visit requires some fitness, no fear of narrow spaces, and it's ugly if you are too big. Also, we recommend fresh clothes to change afterwards and probably gloves and kneepads. On the other hand it's a lot of fun, especially with children.