Cave in to Okinawa’s Underground Wonders

February 11th, 2013By Category: Arts & Entertainment, Culture, Travel

Okinawa’s subtropical climate makes it perfect for sun-loving, adventurous people. Sports like windsurfing, swimming, snorkeling, scuba diving, jet skiing and boating are more popular.

But if you’re one of those people who want to see more than the usual festivals then these places will definitely make you want to lace up your hiking boots and dive in!

Gyokusendo Cave

Okinawa cave

Photo by Okinawa Steve via Flickr Creative Commons

Gyokusendo is a limestone cave born from the coral reef after 30 million years and is designated as a natural monument in Okinawa. With a total length of five kilometers, Gyokusendo Cave is considered the longest cave in the south of Okinawa Island and the second longest cave in the country. 850 meters of the cave are open to the public featuring small and large stalactites and stalagmites. There are well-lit walking paths as well as comfortable areas for viewing. Aside from being one of the most popular tourist destinations in Okinawa it has also been used as a film location for various movies, one of which is the 1974 monster classic Godzilla vs Mecha Godzilla.

Kin Kannon-do Temple and Cave

Temple - Okinawa

Photo by Okinawa Steve via Flickr Creative Commons

The Kin Kannon-do temple is one of eight famous temples in Okinawa and is operated by the Buddhist Shingon sect. It is a Karst cave near Camp Hansen. One of the things that visitors find fascinating is the golden laughing Buddha. The cave entrance is about 20 yards off to the right of the Kin Kannon Temple and according to legend, Nisshu, a Japanese Buddhist priest was returning home from China in 1522. A typhoon hit his ship and he was rescued by villagers from Kin. During his stay he carved statues of Buddha, Yakushi (The God of Medicine), and Kannon (The God of Mercy). This is said to be the origin of the temple.

Café Gold Hall and Caves


Café Gold Hall is a cave, garden, and restaurant all in one. It offers a casual dining experience mixed with that museum adventure feel. Inside, there are a lot of passageways and wood-carved figures representing the spirits, culture and nature of the Ryuku Islands.

Have you been to Okinawa? Share with us your experiences on the comments below!

Author of this article


GaijinPot is an online community for foreigners living in Japan, providing information on everything you need to know about enjoying life here, from finding a job and accommodation to having fun.

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