Sightseeing in Saitama: The Hundred Caves of Yoshimi (吉見百穴) - Vikingess Voyages

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Sightseeing in Saitama: The Hundred Caves of Yoshimi (吉見百穴)

Saitama is one of the surrounding prefectures of Tokyo, and the area has a rich history with many remarkable places ideal for sightseeing. Right north of the more well-known town Kawagoe (known as "little Edo") you find an interesting historical site literarily called the "hundred holes of Yoshimi".
The hundred holes or caves of Yoshimi, "Yoshimi-Hyakuana" or "Yoshimi-Hyakketsu" in Japanese, is a cluster of none less than 219 graves which are thought to be dating back to around the 6th/7th century. After having been rediscovered in 1887 the Yoshimi caves were designated as a National Historic Site in 1923, and the Cappadocia-like landscape continues to attract both tourists and researchers from near and far.

You are pretty much free to walk around the area by yourself, and can even go into most of the caves. The climb to the top of the hill where the tombs are located takes about 10 minutes, and is quite steep as you can see from the pictures below.
But there is more to the Yoshimi caves than the empty graves. Inside some of the caves you can see a rare type of luminous moss with a greenish-gold appearance called Schistostega. The caves with moss inside them are closed so one can't enter, but you can see the glowing moss from the entrance to the caves. The picture below is from Saitama Prefecture's official tourist site
Furthermore, a complex network of larger tunnels was also constructed into the Yoshimi Hills (吉見丘陵) during the Second World War. These tunnels were dug right beneath some of the ancient Yoshimi caves and served as a hidden aircraft engine factory safe from American bombings. Most of these tunnels are closed to the public, but you'll still have the chance to enter around 10% of the tunnel area. The usage of the tunnels ended with the war, but in recent years the war-tunnels have again been utilised for various purposes such as the making of music videos and dramas.
In addition to the caves and tunnels you can also visit the Archaeological Center that houses the remains of pottery and other artifacts that were retrieved from the caves when they were discovered. Or.. You can take a picture of the local yurukyara Yoshimin, as seen in the picture above...

That's all for now! Thanks for reading! Please feel free to leave me any comment/question you might have :)

Basic Info
  • ・Name of Place: The Hundred Caves of Yoshimi (吉見百穴)
  • ・Address:〒355-0155 埼玉県比企郡吉見町北吉見327
  • ・Phone:0493-54-4541
  • Opening Hours: 
    • ・8:30AM–5PM
  • ・Access: Take the bus from Konosu station towards Higashi-Matsuyama and get off                      at Hyakuana-Iriguchi (about 15 minutes)
  • ・Official Home Page:

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About Anette
Anette came to Japan as an exchange student in 2010, met the love of her life and got stuck. From her base in Tokyo she writes about her experiences as a full-time worker in Tokyo and about her travels in Japan and abroad. She's a free-spirited adventurer who enjoys both the great outdoors and her urban lifestyle.

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About Me

Adventures ofAnette

A modern day shield-maiden who loves to explore the unbeaten paths of the world. From her base in Tokyo, Anette takes on both rural and urban challenges, and goes by the motto "No challenge too big, no adventure too small"!
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