The rainy season of 2019 lasts very long and the rainy weather still continues in the middle of July. But today it became hot and humid. So how about seeing icy caves of Mt. Fuji? Mt. Fuji is a volcano and its eruption of over 1,000 years ago formed caves underground. Just above the caves, the frozen ground spread out. As a result of this, the ground water got frozen and formed the ice pillars and ice cubes.
A Village at the Foot of Mt. Fuji
On one weekend in July, we visited Narusawa Village in Yamanashi Prefecture. This is a small village at the foot of Mt. Fuji with the population of about 3,000. You can come here with public transport but this time, we went to Takao Station of Keio Line and from there, we rented a car. About one-and-half hour drive took us to Narusawa Village.
Mt. Fuji had a major eruption in 864 which affected the area in and around Narusawa by the lava sea. This eruption in 864 created the icy caves and other interesting geography of the area. One of the products of the eruption in 864 was Lake Kawaguchi. There are five lakes around here called “Fuji Goko”. “Goko” means five lakes and these lakes were formed as a result of the eruptions in 864 and earlier.
Icy Caves – Ice Cave and Wind Cave
The icy underground creates a beautiful world.
Even in the summer, the temperature in these icy caves is zero degree. So it is a natural refrigerator and people used to store cocoons to produce silk. They also kept seeds – I don’t know why they did this but there were bins full of different kinds of seeds and acorns.
In old days when there was no refrigerator, people used to keep ice here in summer.
The icy caves are very unique spots. Therefore, at this time of the year, there is a long queue before getting into inside. The path of Ice Cave is very narrow and one way only so when I visited there, it took about 20 minutes to go in. But I was told that it was not so bad. During the peak time, the queue becomes even longer.
Deep Forest of Aokigahara
Just outside of the icy caves, there is a deep forest of Aokigahara. It is a dense and dark forest spread at the foot of Mt. Fuji. If you go deep inside, I heard that the compass could not work properly and that it was easy to get lost. Because of this, there were people who failed to come back from the forest. The story goes that some people can feel the souls of those who could not come back.
But don’t worry. You cannot get lost if you just have a look at the forest when you visited icy caves.
For More Information on Icy Caves
Information on Caves: https://www.mtfuji-cave.com/en/