Dana, Iheya-son, Shimajiri-gun, 905-0701 Okinawa Prefecture.
|L=40 m, H=10 m.
|Kumaya Cave, Dana, Iheya-son, Shimajiri-gun, 905-0701 Okinawa Prefecture, Tel: +81-98-046-2001.
|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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|designated a Prefectural Natural Monument.
クマヤ洞窟 (Kumayadōkutsu - Kumaya Cave) is a huge cavern with a sandy floor which is easy to explore. During day the sun shines in through the huge entrance portal, nevertheless we suggest bringing a torch. It seems the cave is used for various social gathering, located conveniently above a really nice beach. There are really comfortable staircases from the road up to the cave entrance, so we guess it is visited by many people on certain occasions. There must be a reason why so much money was invested.
To Teikan, a scholar of the Edo era, had the theory that this cave was Amano-Iwato, a cave mentioned in early Japanese mythology. Numerous caves in Japan are actually said th be the Cave of the Sun Goddess. Out of all the Amano-Iwato-caves in Japan, Kumaya Cave is the southernmost.
Ameratsu, the Shinto sun goddess, was hiding inside a cave, and so the world was shrouded in darkness. She was outraged by her brother’s cruel pranks and thus hid in the cave. The other gods and goddesses met inside another cave, the Amanoto, to discuss a strategy to lure the sun goddess from her hiding place. They tried everything they could think of without success. Finally, one goddess danced outrageously and caused the other gods to roar with laughter. Curiosity forced Amaterasu to leave the cave and her light returned to the world.
There is a second cave on the opposite side of the island, close to the beach. It is known as West Kumaya Cave, although there is no known connection between the caves except the proximity. Both caves are close to the northern end of Iheya island, but there is a road along the coast so both are very well accessible. Both are located immediately beneath the road.