美山鍾乳洞

Miyama shōnyūdō - Miyama Limestone Cave


Useful Information

Location: 421 Miyama, Hachiman-cho, Gujo-shi, Gifu 501-4452.
(35.749738, 137.025089)
Open: Mid-MAR to OCT Mon, Tue, Thu-Sun, Hol 10-17.
NOV Mon, Tue, Thu-Sun, Hol 10-16.
Open on Wed during school holidays.
Last entry 30 minutes before closing.
Cave Trekking daily 10, 13:30 after appointment.
[2022]
Fee: Adults JPY 900, Children (3-17) JPY 500, Disabled JPY 450.
Groups (20+): 20% discount.
[2022]
Classification: SpeleologyKarst cave
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System
Dimension: VR=70 m, A=530 m asl, T=15-16 °C.
Guided tours: self guided, D=40 min.
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: no
Bibliography: Sumio Kajita (1980) A limestone cave in Gujo Hachiman. "Geology on Sunday 11: About the Geology of Gifu" edited by Sumio Kajita. Tsukiji Shokan, pp. 77-88. 日本語 - Japanese
Address: Miyama Limestone Cave, 421 Miyama, Hachiman-cho, Gujo-shi, Gifu 501-4452, Tel: +81-575-68-2321.
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

1969 cave opened as a show cave.
designated a natural monument by Gujo City.
2019 50th anniversary of the opening.

Description

美山鍾乳洞 (Miyama Shonyudo, Miyama Limestone Cave) is famous for its wildlife, like numerous bats living in the cave, and true troglobiont insects which can be found in the cave. It is also called 郡上八幡大鍾乳洞 (Gujo Hachiman Great Cave) after Hachiman-cho Miyama, the hamlet where it is located. The cave has different levels and there are numerous stairs inside. For some reason pets are allowed inside the cave which is quite unique. The operators only ask to take a bag and a bottle water with you, the bag for removing the excrements and water for flushing down the dog markings.

The cave is a cave system with four levels with a height difference of 70 m. The passages are oriented in two directions, northeast-southwest and northwest-southeast, which is a result of fractures of those directions in the rock, which allowed the water to enter the limestone and widen the cracks. The four levels are a result of four times of either uplift or deepening of the valley in fron, probably both. The lowest level is the biggest and so the theory is, that this groundwater level was maintained for a longer period of time. The area around Miyama Cave is called Miyama Cave County, and consists of Permian limestone, which is about 250 million years old. The limestone is part of the Mino Belt, which consists of sedimentary rocks.

The karst area is very rich in caves and there are several other show caves. In Miyama Cave and in several other caves nearby, the bones of extinct animals were found. They include Naumann elephants, spatula deer, leopards, and Irish elk. Hundreds of thousands of years ago, when these animals roamed the area, the region was the border between taiga and steppe climate.

A part of the cave is used to offer cave trekking tours. The tours require prebooking and at least three participants. Helmet, headlamp, caver overall, gum boot and so forth are provided. There are half a dozen different tours, from 1.5 h beginners tours intended for newbies and children, to full day adventure. At the end the tour will depend on the actual abilities of the visitors.

The name of the cave was changed some time ago, which still has a lot of potential for mixup. In older literature the cave is called 郡上八幡大鍾乳洞 (Gunjōhachiman dai shōnyūdō, Gujo Hachiman Great Limestone Cave), which is a really strange name, even for Japanese standards. Gujo is the district and Hachiman the next city, to which the cave belongs. So this part of the name is not a name, it's the place where it is located. The actual name of the cave, if you strip this away, is 大鍾乳洞 (Dai shōnyūdō, Great Limestone Cave) and actually not a name at all. Like Bat Cave or River Cave this name exists in abundance, actually there is as second show cave in the prefecture with that name, so we understand why they added to location. Also, there is a small show cave nearby, down the valley only 1.7 km away as the crow flies, which is named 郡上鍾乳洞 (Gujō shōnyūdō, Gujo Limestone Cave). There was probably the intention to draw some visitors by choosing a similar name, a sort of mini cave war, but that's just our guess.