community-forum community-penpal community-userReports destinations-admission destinations-beenThere-outline destinations-beenThere-solid destinations-city_outline destinations-city_solid destinations-closedDays destinations-date destinations-getThere destinations-hotels destinations-hoursFees destinations-itineraries-3 destinations-links destinations-nearbySpots destinations-pin-simple-outline destinations-pin-simple destinations-sortBy-dots destinations-thumbsUp destinations-tours destinations-town destinations-wishlist-heart-outline destinations-wishlist-heart-solid interests-agriculture interests-amusementParks interests-beaches interests-castles interests-city_solid interests-contemporaryArt interests-events interests-festivals interests-flowers interests-foodDrink interests-gardens interests-hiking interests-historicSites interests-industry interests-koyo-single interests-koyo interests-mangaAnime interests-museums interests-nature interests-onsen interests-parks interests-pottery interests-sakura-single interests-sakura interests-scenicRides interests-shopping interests-shrines interests-skiing interests-snow interests-sumo interests-temples interests-traditionalArts interests-traditionalTheater interests-viewpoints interests-volcanoes interests-wildlife interests-winterIlluminations news-section planning-section planning-tickets-2 planning-transportation-access planning-transportation-bicycle planning-transportation-boat-2 planning-transportation-boat planning-transportation-bus planning-transportation-car planning-transportation-plane planning-transportation-shinkansen planning-transportation-tickets planning-transportation-train planning-transportation-walk shapes-chevron-down shapes-circle shapes-star social-fb social-gplus social-instagram social-twitter ui-alert-construction ui-alert-warning ui-calendar ui-date ui-globe ui-lightbulb ui-no_entry ui-ok ui-pencil ui-reverse ui-search ui-time ui-x user-avatar

Mine City in Yamaguchi Prefecture is home to Akiyoshidai (Hg), the plateau with the highest concentration of karst formations in Japan, and Akiyoshido (HF, Akiyoshidō), the nation's largest and longest limestone cave. The area which encompasses the plateau and the cave is a designated quasi national park.

The vast lands of the Akiyoshidai Plateau are dotted with limestone pinnacles, presenting a landscape rarely seen in Japan. The plateau was a coral reef an estimated 300 million years ago, and the karst topography that we see today is the result of the gradual dissolution of limestone by rain through the years.

Akiyoshidai's scenery can be enjoyed along the main road which winds through the highland (if you have a car) or from a network of hiking trails that covers the plateau. Akiyoshidai is also known for its different seasonal appearances: fresh green in spring and summer, reddish yellow in autumn and white from fallen snow in winter.

Akiyoshidai Plateau

Below the surface at the south end of Akiyoshidai lies the Akiyoshido Cave. The massive limestone cave has a total length of about nine kilometers, of which one kilometer is open to the public. The cave is spacious and easy to navigate, with ample lighting, paved paths and leveled steps. Various natural formations can be seen along the course, such as terraces of limestone pools filled with water, underground waterfalls and a lovely stream of cobalt blue water flowing along the path. There is also an adventure path for an additional 300 yen that is slippery and slightly difficult to navigate, but rewards challengers with a nice view of the cave from a higher perspective.

The cave can be entered from three entrances: the Akiyoshido Entrance, the Kurotani Entrance or via an elevator. The Akiyoshido Entrance is the closest to the bus terminal and main parking lots, while the Kurotani Entrance is often used by tour groups. From the elevator exit of the cave, it is a 5-10 minute walk to an observation deck with nice views over the Akiyoshidai Plateau. The observation deck is also the starting point of several nature trails which lead into the plateau and closer to the karst formations.

A good way to fully enjoy the cave is to enter from the Akiyoshido Entrance, walk through the cave, turn back at the Kurotani Entrance, exit through the elevator and visit the observation deck, re-enter the cave via the elevator (using the same ticket) and exit via the Akiyoshido Entrance. To avoid walking the length of the cave twice, visitors can also use buses that run between the cave's three entrances. While the buses run relatively frequently on weekends and holidays, they are very infrequent on weekdays and do not run, at all, on winter weekdays.

Akiyoshido entrance
In the cave

Access

Akiyoshidai is often combined with a visit to Yamaguchi in the southeast and/or Hagi in the north. No train lines run close to the area, and most people will arrive by bus or car.

From Yamaguchi

JR Bus operates buses between Yamaguchi Station and Akiyoshido (60 minutes, 1210 yen, 6 round trips per day), while Bocho Bus operates buses between Shin-Yamaguchi Station and Akiyoshido (45 minutes, 1170 yen, 7-9 round trips per day). The Japan Rail Pass is valid on JR buses but not on Bocho buses.

From Hagi

Bocho Bus operates two buses between Hagi, Akiyoshidai (65 minutes, 1720 yen) and Akiyoshido (70 minutes, 1810 yen). The Japan Rail Pass is not valid on these buses.

Hours & Fees

Hours

8:30 to 16:30

Closed

No closing days

Admission

1200 yen
Page last updated: November 11, 2016