Under earth exploration! 2021.07.15
One of the highlights of Okinawa World was the natural cave that I figure was the central feature around which the theme park was created. The Gyokusendo Cave at Okinawa World was discovered in 1967 by a Ehime University Research group. Beyond being one of the most popular tourist destinations in Okinawa it has also been used as a film location for various movies the most well known international being the 1974 monster classic Godzilla vs Mecha Godzilla. I have never really liked caves. Maybe it is some kind of latent, faint claustrophobia. Being under the earth while seeing the rock formations overhead slowly bleeding down to the floor beneath is a bit ominous. When will nature give away and rain those gigantic, solid spears of limestone or whatever down on unsuspected sightseers? There is the smell as well that is very disturbing. It is old and suffocating. You can detect soil particles floating around in there and the idea of breathing is much less pleasant. What am I drawing into my body? The creepy crawlers also love the dark and imagining those multi-legged insects scampering around in there makes my blood crawl. Although the Gyokusendo Cave at Okinawa World totals an underground maze of over five kilometres, the accessible walkway only runs for about eight hundred and ninety meters. Walking this pathway will still take more than one hour. Within the labyrinth of Ryukyu limestone visitors can see over one million massive stalagmites and stalactites which are even more fascinating when you take into account they take three years to grow one millimetre and some of them are many meters long. On your journey through the Okinawa World Gyokusendo Cave if you are lucky you can also see some of the native animals that live there like fish and reptiles. During summer months, July to September, Okinawa World offers a special cave tour that lasts about ninety minutes and takes you to places not normally seen from the walkway. The tour that goes through the Gyokusendo Caves requires some climbing and getting wet in the water as well as a bit of energy so if you are adventurous it can be tons of fun! We did not have the opportunity to get a guided tour so we slowly made our way along the beautifully lit pathway. It was a haven as the wind and rain raged outside. It was damp and cold but so pretty to see. The staff had skillfully used coloured lamps and special effects to make the cave come alive.
I'm like a chihuahua. Small but fierce and full of energy. I'm generally a positive person and try to make the best of each day.