Wednesday 25 September 2013

An afternoon exploring in Yoshimi

We had another 3 day holiday this weekend, I know, hard life innit? At least this time we weren't held hostage by the weather. We decided to do a bit of exploring after aikido class on Sunday, so we headed to Yoshimi Hyakuana. I have been to this place years ago and if you are planning on going, it will only take you an hour at tops to do the whole site.

The hill is covered in these tombs carved out of the rock face, although the area is known as the hill with 100 caves there are 216 all together. It is the largest collection of tombs in Japan and is a national historic monument.

In some of the tombs there grows hikari moss which literally mean shining moss, it is a special moss that is native to the area and is very rare.

And if 216 tombs and shining moss isn't enough to excite you, there are the WWII bunkers to have a look in too! These were dug out (apparently) by 2500 Koreans, presumably captured in the war although I am not 100% sure about  that, so don't quote me :)
Only as small part of the bunkers are open to the public and they are basically just tunnels, more information would have been nice.

There were quite a few of these signs around, warning of the giant Asian hornets, which are notoriously dangerous, I had one in the house once, it was scary! Even the signs scared the pants off me.

There is also a small, one room museum and they have classes to learn the handicrafts of days gone by. We were too late to join any classes so we just had a wander around the museum bit.
The local mascot - you know everything in Japan needs a mascot, was a not very impressive strawberry, I couldn't see why they didn't use this guy, one of the clay figures they excavated at the tombs.

 Just across the road is Iwamuro Kannon, the goddess of caves, if you climb to the top of the hill it is the site of Matsuyama Castle, we didn't make it past the scary Asian hornets, so I'm not sure exactly what is at the top.

If you go, they have a basic leaflet at the entrance to the caves in English, which tells you about all the local sites, there are a couple of places we didn't make it to, maybe next time!
Apparently if you make it through this hole in the rock, you will have a safe birthing experience...hmmm.

It was a fun afternoon, if we had been more organized we could have joined a class to make something too, at least we know the option is there for next time.

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