Explore Japan’s No. 1 Underground World called “Gyokusendo”.
Okinawa is a island of corals.
Tourists can enjoy the beautiful coral reefs once they dive into the emerald green ocean of Okinawa. However, these corals not only create the wondrous world under the ocean, but it also creates another astonishing “underground world” that fascinates the tourists.
There are quite a number of limestone caves large and small located in Okinawa, but the most well-known and one of the nation’s largest is the “Gyokusendo” cave.
Over one million stalactites (cylindrical stones that hang from the roof of a limestone cave) exists inside the 890-meter long cave that is developed and protected for touring (The total length of the cave is approximated to be 5000 meters, and the rest of the undeveloped sections are currently under research).
Okinanwa’s coral evolved into a stratum of Ryukyu limestone over tens of thousands of years. Calcium carbonate, which is known to be Ryukyu limestone’s main component, dissolves into the ground water over a period of time, and forms the stalactite.
It is said that Gyokusendo’s stalactites grow faster compared to those of mainland Japan’s. That being said, it still takes 3 years to grow 1 millimeter.
There are many highlights in Gyokusendo such as the “Toyo Ichi Dou” which is regarded the largest and the tallest cave space in the East, the “Yari Tenjyo” which is covered by twenty thousand stalactites, and the “Ryujin no Ike” where several small ponds lie in a scalelike pattern.
There are 37 types of these stalactites which is considered to be Japan’s best, and certainly you should take your time and enjoy every piece of it during your visit.
If possible, bring a flash light with you so that you can also observe the stalactites that are not lighted up.
You will probably see Okinawa’s ocean from a different perspective after feeling the tremendous time lapse inside the fascinating underground world of Okinawa.
Access to Gyokusendo
30 minute drive from Naha Airport (Public Highway)
Facts and information that you should obtain before visiting Gyokusendo
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