Travel Reports by scarreddragon view profile of scarreddragon

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Note: The opinions and views expressed in this user report are those of the individual author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions and views of japan-guide.com.

August 22, 2014 - Gifu Road Trip Part 1: Gifu City and Gujo Caves

We had originally planned this road trip the weekend before Obon started, but due to the typhoon, ended up postponing the trip to this past weekend.

Of course, this past weekend, a giant storm rolled over Japan Saturday night, resulting in torrential rains and landslides across Japan on Sunday. Hiroshima is now all over the news due to the tragic loss of over 30 lives from landslides.

In Gifu, our phones beeped multiple evacuation warnings almost as soon as we crossed into the prefecture from Nagano, and within just a few minutes of driving, the roads were already inundated with water.

My timing, as always, is impeccable! My original plan was to roll into Gifu City in the afternoon, check into a trusty Toyoko Inn, then sightsee before seeing the ukai, or cormorant fishing, and the light up at the castle. This, of course, was cancelled, so we ended up just walking around the station and finding a "Teppan Pizza" place to eat.

I'm a little surprised Japan-Guide doesn't have a page on Gifu city, since the cormorant fishing seems like it'd be really popular with foreign tourists. For those interested in learning more about it, there is a great and informative post on it by Marine Biologist and Professor Robert Reavis here: http://glendalecommunitycollege.wordpress.com/2012/08/23/ukai-cormorant-fishing/

I'm pretty disappointed I wasn't able to see it, but I guess that gives me an excuse to go back!

Our second day in Gifu, luckily, was nice and sunny. We started out driving to the Otaki Cave to enjoy the tallest underground waterfall in Japan.

The basic entrance fee to the cave is 1000 yen, which includes the short ride up a cable car to the cave entrance. There are some extra "courses" as well, since Japan loves bundles: Course A includes both the entrance to Otaki, as well as a smaller cave system a three minute drive away. We opted for this choice.

Course B includes a hot stone-cooked meal at the Gassho-zukuri house brought over from Shirakawa-go. Course C includes a meal of Hiyashi Soumen, cold noodles you grab as they pass by in water. This one is popular with the kids!

The cave entrance was like standing in front of a refrigerator. Cold air and mist poured out of the entrance, and the staff member stood in front with a poncho and rain boots on.

I'm honestly not sure what I expected, but it wasn't what I got. Normally perhaps the cave is pretty dry, but I guess it was obvious that it'd be wet after the rain we got, and this obviously escaped my attention. HOW wet was shocking... staff had obviously been in before to put temporary wood paths on blocks and sandbags in key places so you weren't slogging through knee deep water, as well as plastic ceilings where some mini-waterfalls threatened, and seemed to be pumping out the water as fast as it flowed in. The actual waterfall wasn't some sissy drip but a FALL of WATER that really meant business, so I guess I got what I paid for. I'm kinda shocked they kept the cave open to be honest, but it was certainly a... unique! time to visit.

I guess if you go after a rain, expect to get wet! ("Duh" for most people, shocking to scarreddragon. )

After eating, we headed to the second cave since we'd bought the ticket for there as well. I don't remember the name, but it is just down the road and to the right from Otaki. We parked and headed into the building to give our tickets to the girl working there, who then handed us two flashlights.

Okay, so here we go, cave number two. Not as wet as Otaki! It's kinda dark in here, though... Are the lights supposed to be off? Um... okay, sure, pitch black cave, dinky little flashlight, no biggie.

And then the flashlight flickered because the batteries were probably running out, and I panicked and dropped it. I now know what "pitch black" ACTUALLY means, and also, I'm probably only here today because my iPhone also has a flashlight feature, otherwise I'd forever more roam a random cave in Gifu because I dropped my friggen flashlight.

I don't know if the lights were supposed to be off, because you could see them throughout the cave, but those flashlights do NOT provide enough light to enjoy it! Otherwise, the cave has some creepy figures of monkeys and what are supposed to be Jomon people, since they found some bones and pottery. This is interesting, but not worth it. My advice: skip cave number two. Or if you go, make sure you have a better flashlight!

Right. Coming up in Part 2: Gujo City and Shirakawa-go, and then Takayama in Part 3.

My Gotochi Prefecture postcard blog: postacollect.wordpress.com

My personal blog: travelsandtanbo.wordpress.com

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List of Posts:
2016/04/24 - Mitsuhiko Imamori Paper Cut Works Exhibit in Takasaki
2015/11/19 - Shiobara Onsen, Tochigi
2015/08/30 - Southern Kyushu: Miyazaki City
2015/08/30 - Southern Kyushu: Nichinan Coast and Cape Toi
2015/08/30 - Southern Kyushu: Takachiho, Miyazaki
2015/08/27 - Southern Kyushu: Kumamoto Castle
2015/08/25 - Southern Kyushu: Ibusuki and Kirishima
2015/08/24 - Southern Kyushu: Kagoshima City, Kagoshima
2015/08/03 - Tambara Lavender Park
2015/07/13 - Event: Eco Edo Nihonbashi Art Aquarium
2015/05/01 - Kanna-machi Koi-no-Bori Festival
2015/05/01 - Wisteria Festival in Fujioka
2014/11/15 - Sakurayama Koen: Fall Colors and Winter-blooming Cherry Blossoms
2014/11/15 - Ueno-mura Sky Bridge and Fall Colors
2014/08/22 - Gifu Road Trip Part 1: Gifu City and Gujo Caves
2014/08/22 - Gifu Road Trip Part 2: Gujo City and Shirakawa-go
2014/08/22 - Gifu Road Trip Part 3: Hida Takayama
2014/07/02 - Rainy Season around Tokyo: Hydrangea Flowers
2014/05/27 - Road Trip: Yamadera, Yamagata
2014/05/26 - Road Trip: Yonezawa, Yamagata
2014/05/19 - Roadtrip Fukushima's Ouchijuku
2014/05/16 - Roadtrip: Aizu-Wakamatsu
2014/04/30 - Climbing Gunma's Mt. Myogi
2014/03/09 - Flower Weekend 2: Tokyo Report
2014/03/09 - Flower Weekend 1: Gunma Plums
2013/10/30 - Onioshidashi Koen and Mt. Asama Part 1
2013/10/30 - Onioshidashi Koen and Mt. Asama Part 2
2013/10/30 - Cosmos and Mt. Myogi
2013/10/01 - Fall Flowers: Higanbana
2012/12/01 - Winter Cherry Blossoms at Joumine Kouen
2012/11/18 - Annual Coco Harvest Festival
2012/11/11 - Ueno Cat cafe ''Nekomaru''
2012/11/10 - Tokyo Design Festa vol.36 at Odaiba
2012/11/04 - Utsunomiya, Tochigi Gyoza Festival