Osako, Kawakami, Yoshino District, Nara 639-3612.
Adults JPY 500.
|Light:||Incandescent Electric Light System|
Fudokutsu, Kashiwagi, Kawakami, Yoshino District, Nara Prefecture 639-3601, Tel: +81-746-54-0227.
Fudo Cave, Osako, Kawakami, Yoshino District, Nara 639-3612, Tel: +81-70-4402-9526.
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不動窟 (Fudo Cave) is sometimes also called 不動窟鍾乳洞 (Fudōkutsu shōnyūdō, Fudo Cave Limestone Cave), which seems a bit of an overkill, with two different versions of cave in one name. The cave is quite impressive as it is a river cave which show fantastic profiles and erosional forms, scallops and pressure tubes. Fortunately the water is gone and the cave dry, there are safe trails and electric light. This is not the standard "dripstone cave", especially as it lacks huge amounts of speleothems. Nevertheless, it is quite impressive and definitely worth a visit. Such caves are important and informative geotopes, but as they lack aesthetic dripstones, they are often not esteemed by the visitors.
From the entrance at the shores of the Yoshino River the cave passage leads straight into the mountainside. There are four small chambers, the biggest is the third, which is also called main chamber. It contains the two-meter wide Fudo no Taki Waterfall, which cascades down the wall of the cave from a spring near the ceiling.
The cave was used by practitioners of Shugendo, Buddhist mountain asceticism, as a place of worship. They believed that the perfect darkness and pristine conditions inside the cave cleansed the mind and body. The sound of the underground river and waterfall were interpreted as movements of a dragon, and thus a test of courage for the believers. At the entrance to the cave statues of the King of Eleven Faces Fudomyo-sama, the Buddhist deity of discipline, are placed on an altar. A similar altar is also in the main chamber next to the Fudo no Taki Waterfall. This one has one addition: two dipping cups to cleanse one's hands with the water of the waterfall.
The National Route 169 follows the valley of the Yoshino River, and a kilometer below Osako Dam the road was modernized some time ago. Instead of following the bends of the river the new road crosses a bridge and then vanishes into a tunnel. The old road still exists and beneath the bridge there is an old bend of the road along the slope of the valley. A building was built across the old road, like a bridge, which is the restaurant "Hora/Ana" and the ticket office for the cave. If there are not many visitors it's possible to park here on the abandoned road. On busy days there are two more parking lots, one in each direction, only 100 m away. The cave entrance is down a long steep stairway to Yoshino River, where the entrance to the cave is.