溝ノ口洞穴

Mizonoguchi dokutsu - Mizonoguchi Cave


Useful Information

Location: 4907 Takarabecho Shimotakarabe, Soo, Kagoshima 899-4103.
(31.779592, 130.961214)
Open: no restrictions.
[2022]
Fee: free.
[2022]
Classification: SpeleologyErosional Cave
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System
Dimension: L=209.5 m. Portal: W=14.6 m, H=6.4 m.
Guided tours: self guided
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: no
Bibliography:  
Address: Mizonokuchi Cave, 4907 Takarabecho Shimotakarabe, Soo, Kagoshima 899-4103.
Soo City Board of Education Social Education Division, 5629 Iwagawa, Osumi-cho, Soo-shi, Kagoshima 899-8102, Tel: +81-99-482-5958, Fax: +81-99-482-1148. E-mail:
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

AUG-2013 selected as one of the 100 Most Famous Caves in Japan.
2017 cave surveyed.
26-MAR-2021 designated a National Cultural Property, the first nationally designated cultural property of Soo City.

Description

溝ノ口洞穴 (Mizonokuchi horaana, Mizonokuchi Cave) is also written 溝之口洞窟 (Mizonoguchi Cave). Located in the mountains west of Miyakonojo City, it is reached on a paved single lane road. A red wooden Kenji Door leads to the huge portal, 14 m wide and 6 m high, followed by a 200 m long huge passage.

The landscape was formed by an eruption from the Kakuto caldera about 330,000 years ago, the lava flows were eroded. 29,000 years ago the eruption from Aira Caldera created the Ito pyroclastic flow (Shirasu), which followed the given topography. However, this cave is not a lava tube, it was formed in hard welded tuff, created by heat and consolidation from the Ito pyroclastic flow deposits. The flow formed the rock, and the spring water of the Kirishima Mountains did the erosion of this rock. Groundwater still flows out of the cave. The cave shows the remains a hole called a "atrium pipe" through which gas and water vapor have escaped upward.

The locals use the cave for religious purposes, although it is not a shrine. On Sundays near the birthday of Buddha (April 8th), the Iwaana Festival is held at the cave. It includes a sword dance and a stick dance.

According to legend the cave is connected to Mt. Takachiho, which is 12 km to the north. And of course there was a dog who vanished in the cave and later reappeared th Mt. Takachiho. A fine example of the SmileFar Connection Legend and the SmileMysterious Rediscovery Legend.