球泉洞

Kyusen-do - Kyusen Cave - Bulquan-dong - Ball Fountain Cave


Useful Information

Location: Kumamoto Prefecture, Kyushu island.
(32.275699, 130.614920)
Open: Currently closed due to torrential rain disaster.
APR to JUN daily 9-17:30,
JUL to AUG daily 9-18,
SEP to OCT daily 9-17:30,
NOV to MAR daily 9-17.
[2022]
Fee: Currently closed due to torrential rain disaster.
Adults JPY 1,100, Children (12-14) JPY 800, Children (6-11) JPY 600, Children (3-6) JPY 450.
[2022]
Classification: SpeleologyKarst cave Sanpozan Sankozan Belt (235-134Ma)
Light: LightLED Lighting LightColoured Light
Dimension: L=4,800 m, A=694 m asl., T=16 °C.
Guided tours: self guided, D=30 min, L=800 m.
Photography:
Accessibility:
Bibliography:
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.

History

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.
JUL-2020 closed due to the torrential rain disaster.

Description

F090-012
Kyusen-do. Public Domain.

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 difficulties, 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 distilled 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 Japanese 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. It is located at the forest museum in a strange building called forest building, which looks like a series of beehives. This seems to be a result of the fact that the cave is owned and managed by the Kumamura Forestry Association.

A few years ago the had something called Sawami Observatory, which we can not explain and 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. Obviously those are not local fossils. It seems both "sights" were discontinued, because we were not the only ones who did not understand their meaning.

The cave was hit by the 2020 Kyushu floods, a result of record-breaking heavy rain which hit the island of Kyushu. The flooding caused landslides and 77 people were confirmed dead. More than 15,000 buildings were destroyed, damaged or flooded. The cave is now closed for two years, Covid-19 did not help the situation.