フゴッペ洞窟

Fugoppe-dokutsu - Fugoppe Cave


Useful Information

Location: Yoichi Beach, Yoichi, Yoichi District, Hokkaido 046-0001.
(43.194666, 140.838712)
Open: Mid-APR to mid-DEC Tue-Sun, Hol 9-16:30.
Closed the day after a public holiday.
[2022]
Fee: Adults JPY 300, Children (6-14) JPY 100.
Groups (20+): discount.
[2022]
Classification: SpeleologyKarst Cave ArchaeologyPainted Cave
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System
Dimension:  
Guided tours: D=30 min, Max=10, MaxDay=20.
Photography: not allowed
Accessibility:  
Bibliography: Masaru Ogawa (1988): Rock engravings in Fugoppe Cave, Japan,
in: M.J. Morwood, D.R. Hobbs (eds.) (1992): Rock Art And Ethnography, Proceedings of the Ethnography Symposium (H), Australian Rock Art Research Association Congress, Darwin 1988. Occasional AURA Publication Number 5, Australian Rock Art Research Association, AURA Archaeological Publications, Melbourne. 87 pp, ISBN: 0 646 04920 8 WorldRock Art and Ethnography
Hiromitsu Yamagishi, Tadashi Yasuda, Hideji Kobayashi (): Conservation from Rockfall of the Engraved Wall in the Fugoppe Cave, Hokkaido, Japan, UNESCO IGCP NO. 425
Thomas Heyd (2002): Authentic Display of Rock Art: The Case of Fugoppe Cave, in Masaru Ogawa (ed.), Fugoppe doukutsu ganmen-kokuga no sougou-teki kenky (in Japanese: IntegratedResearch of Petroglyphs from Fugoppe Cave, Japan), Naruto University, Japan.
Address: Fugoppe cave, Yoichi, Yoichi District, Hokkaido 046-0001, Tel: +81-135-22-6170.
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

OCT-1927 rock carvings discovered on stone walls by a railroad worker who dug a path.
1950 further rock art in Fugoppe Cave discovered accidentally by a junior high school student, who had come to the sea bathing in the seashore of Hokkaido Yoichi Cho.
1953 designated as national treasures.

Description

フゴッペ洞窟 (Fugoppe Cave) is a painted cave, or better a carved cave. The walls are covered by more than 800 2,000 years old engravings showing mostly human figures. Some of them have wings and look like angels. There is a speculation that they represent shamans, and depict some religious ritual. The other engravings show boats, fish, marine mammals, and four-legged animals.

This cave is quite unique, as it is one of only two in Japan showing such engravings. The other is CaveTemiya Cave only a few kilometers to the east.

Unfortunately the cave is located under the cliff at Yoichi Beach, and the continuing erosion endangers the cave. At the moment enormous efforts are taken to protect the cave. The cave is a national heritage site.

The first rock carvings were discovered in the town in October 1927 by a railroad worker who dug a path through a hill. Nishida Shōzō, Professor at the Otaru College of Commerce (小樽高等商業学校), examined them and called them Fugoppe ancient characters. He compared them with the Tsushima characters and an old Turkic alphabet. The Ainu folk researcher Hokuto Iboshi noted a lack of weathering and thought they were recent forgeries. Tatsuo Sōma guessed that they were made by people expelled from the northeast of Honshū. The rock art in Fugoppe Cave was discovered accidentally in 1950 by a junior high school student, who had come to the sea for bathing. Their age was confirmed to be relics of the late Jōmon period, and designated as national treasures in 1953.

Earthenware and bone tools found in the sedimentary soil layer were dated to 2000-1500 BP. Obviously it is only a guess that both are of the same age, but this is at least a probability. It is impossible to date the age of engravings by physical methods, only by their design, which is obviously very inaccurate.