Encounter the healing mountain scenery by passing through the Cedar forests on the steep slopes.
The Sacred Sites and Pilgrimage Routes in the Kii Mountain Range are, like the Road to Santiago, a rare example of a route or collection of routes that has been designated as a World Heritage. The Dorogawa Hot Springs, one of the sacred sites on the route and a post town on the Omine Okugake road, is also an important site for Shugendo, a form of Buddhist mountain asceticism that also combines elements of Shinto.
The Menfudo Stalactite Caves, located on the heights overlooking the post town, can be accessed by an exciting ride on the local monorail, which is an attraction itself. Feel gravity at your back as you enjoy the ride through the forests of Japanese cedar on the steep mountain slopes.
Your subsequent arrival at the station on the mountain peak will be a moment of almost spiritual cleansing. You will perhaps even sense the same awe felt by the Shugendo worshipers when you look out along the ridgeline of the Omine mountain range, and look down on holy lands nestled between the peaks. This breathtaking view will gently embrace all who observe it.
Long before the rise of the Shugendo beliefs, this land was protected by the Menfudo Stalactite Caves
The caves can be reached beyond the large sign which reads “Menfudo Shonyudo” in Japanese, meaning the Menfudo stalactite caves. While the caves are a recent find, discovered in 1933, they are in fact tens of thousands of years old, a natural work of art formed through the undulation of the land over that span of time.
Seeing the stalactites, which grow at a stately pace of 1 cm every 100 years, you will sense the almost unimaginable depth of time during which they have watched over this holy land.
Each section of the stalactite caves is named, such as the Rakangutsu, or Arhat Cava, that looks like collection of statues of Buddhist Saints, and visitors can enjoy the views as they would appreciate artworks at a gallery.
A leisurely walk through the caves and back will take approximately 15 minutes. The gentle slope in the cave is easy to navigate, and the year round average internal temperature of around 8 degrees Celsius (46.4 degrees Fahrenheit) makes cave walking very comfortable.
The colorful lighting in the cave was produced by Kunihiko Takaura, a designer of outdoor lighting installations. The stone and light collaborate in a performance featuring the gentle fluctuation of the light between seven different colors.
- The Menfudo Stalactite Caves
- 9:00 - 18:00（7/18～8/31） 8：00-19：00、（10/1～3/31） 9：00-17：00 ※入洞は終了の30分前まで 定休は12/30～1/6 トロッコ定休日：冬季休業 木曜 ※天候状況により変更になる場合もあります
- 673-89 Dorogawa, Tenkawa village, Yoshino-gun, Nara Pref.
- Entrance fee for caves : Adult 400 yen、4 years old ～elementary school students 200 yen / Dolly rates : Adult 500 yen、4 years old ～elementary school students 300 yen
- +81-(0)747-64-0352（Menfudo chaya）/ +81-(0)747-64-0353（Dorogawa financial ward office)