|Location:||Kumamoto Prefecture, Kyushu island.|
APR to JUL daily 9-17:30,
AUG daily 9-18,
SEP to OCT daily 9-17:30,
NOV to MAR daily 9-17.
|Fee:||Adults JPY 1,100, Middle School JPY 800, Elementary School JPY 600, Children (3-6) JPY 450. |
|Classification:||Karst cave Sanpozan Sankozan Belt (235-134Ma)|
|Dimension:||L=4,800 m, A=694 m asl., T=16 °C.|
|Guided tours:||L=800 m,|
|Address:||Bulquan-dong, 112 869-6205 Kumama-gun, Kumamoto Prefecture, Omachi, Oji, 1121, Tel: 0966-32-0080, Fax: 0966-32-0100|
|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.
|MAR-1973||discovered by cavers from Ehime University.|
|1975||opened to the public.|
|JUL-1975||Forestry Museum opened to the public|
|MAY-1995||Edison Museum opened to the public.|
Kyusen-do (Ball Fountain Cave) is a rather young discovery. It was explored down a 70 m deep pothole by cavers from the Ehime University. With a total length of 4.8 km it is the 6th longest cave in Japan and the longest on Kyushu island. The regular tour is very comfortable and suitable for all visitors.
There is also a tour called Family Exploration Course which seems to be a sort of very easy cave trekking tour. Participants are equipped with helmets and gum boots, and then it follows an undeveloped side branch. The trail is very easy without any technical dificulties, except for walking on (mostly) natural cave floor. It seems to be more a fun for children.
A special feature of the show cave is a side branch which is used to store the local specialty shōchū. This is Japanese brandy, which is destilled from any starch, including rice, corn, sweet potato, or sugar cane. It has about 25% alcohol, which is less than we are used for western brandy, but more than sake typically has. The production of shōchū is typical for Kyushu island, and the locally produced shōchū, which is sold at the store, can be stored up to 20 years in the side branch of the cave. Storage is really cheap, only JPY 10,000 (82€) for 3 years and JPY 27,000 (225€) for 20 years. This seems to be a typical Japanes thing, the alcohol is sold and then stored, and when you are still alive 20 years later you will get the matured beverage by mail. Otherwise your family will take care of your heritage.
The show cave is completed by various surrounding attractions. There is a museum about Thomas Alva Edison, the inventor of the light bulb and the electric chair. Then there is a forest museum in a strange building called forest building, which looks like a series of beehives. This seems to be a reuslt of the fact that the cave is owned and managed by the Kumamura Forestry Association. Then there is something called Sawami Observatory, which we can not explain. And finally there is an exhibition of megalodon fossils. We are completely clueless about this, as the rocks are said to be 300 to 350 Million years old, but Megalodons lived only 2 to 10 Million years ago. Obvioulsy those are not local fossils.