How Gigantic! Nanjo City’s Limestone Cave “Gyokusendo” was an Exciting Spot that Makes You Feel like RPG!

Hi! This is Kiryu. I live in Okinawa, Japnan.

Everyone! What do you recall with Okinawa?


Then, what do you recall with summer?


Great! You know well!

So, I went to a cave in Nanjo City, Okinawa.

The name of the cave is “Gyokusendo”.

It is well-known locally as a limestone cave in the southern part of the main island of Okinawa, but seems not familiar to people outside the prefecture.

It was like a basement cave of RPG in every respect! I will introduce you the cave in this article.

Huge limestone cave! Gyokusendo is like this

Gyokusendo is located in the theme park ‘Okinawa World’ in Nanjo City, Okinawa Prefecture.

Okinawa World is a sightseeing spot in Okinawa consisting of Gyokusendo cave, Kingdom Village and Habu (Okinawan viper snake) Museum. You can see a map below.

See also Okinawa World

It will take about 30 minutes by car from Naha Airport or Shuri Castle. It’s about 15 minutes by car from Okinawa Peace Memorial Park.

If you go Okinawa World by using a bus, get off at “Gyokusendo Mae” bus stop. If you need more detailed access information, see the official information.

See also Access – Okinawa World

When I arrived at Okinawa World, three big Shisa (one of fantasy lion-like creatures in Okinawa) welcomed me first!

Huge! It’s about the size of an elementary school student. You cannot see Shisa of that size much elsewhere.

I paid entrance fee and entered. The fee is depending on tickets: adults will pay 1,240 yen or so.

A rock with the letters of “Gyokusendo” engraved immediately appeared.

According to the letters, Gyokusendo is a Japanese natural treasure.

The entrance of Gyokusendo was like the picture below. Unexpectedly, it seemed artificial…

However, going down a little longer staircase … Ta-da!

A terrible space appeared in which the ceiling and the ground were covered with countless stalactites.

Stalactite stones were rising from the top and bottom! If I get stuck it must be painful!

I progressed in the dark little by little.

Fortunately, the steps were a sidewalk of concrete. There were also handrails. It was easy to walk.

The long cave continued.

It takes about 30 minutes to get to the exit if you walk slowly and take some pictures.

The “feeling of darkness” or “feeling that something is lurking” was just like a cave in RPG.

No, the genuine cave was more exciting!

By the way, do you know how a stalactite is formed? You can see a commentary in this cave.

Calcium carbonate is dissolved in water droplets falling from the ceiling of the limestone cave. The calcium carbonate creates “icicle stone” which is overflowing from the ceiling and “stalagmite” stretching from the sinus floor.

When an icicle and a stalagmite are connected, it becomes a single stone pillar. There are many stone pillars made in Gyokusendo over tens of thousands of years.

Indeed, when walking in the cave you can see that water droplets are dripping from the stalactites everywhere.

It is not just to see, in fact. Water drops fall on your head and shoulders. Ew!

So, be careful if you are committed to your hair style. lol

What really surprised me was that although the below was artificial sidewalks as I wrote earlier, new stalactites were starting to be formed on the concrete!

Can you see some parts of the sidewalk swelling a little?

I think that the sidewalk has been made for a decade or decades, but in the meantime the stalactite is being formed over time. . .

You can also see a small fossil in the cave.

Deer bone

The commentary says that there was no deer in the cave. Dead bodies were carried in running water.

Indeed, water was flowing everywhere. There were waterfalls and places like fountains.

There were save points like this in Super Famicom Final Fantasy I played in old days!

Go out the cave and have dessert

I went through the long cave and came to the ground.

The inside of the cave was very cool, but it was really hot out when going outside the cave! Hot!

In fact, I visited Gyokusendo in July. July is the month when the average temperature in Okinawa is the highest. Sweats didn’t stop.

So I could not beat the temptation of a cold dessert.

I bought a sweet called mango soft cream.

Cold and tasty … healed …

The texture and taste were like slightly deep sherbet rather than soft-serve ice cream.

There is no such nice sweet in RPG world · · · I’m glad I was borne in the real world, I thought.

Lunch at “Churashima”!

What if you are hungry when walking in a cave?

Catch the monsters in the cavern, cook and eat them!

That’s the story of this manga.

Fortunately or not, there were no monsters in Gyokusendo so I ate at a restaurant.

Okinawa world’s kitchen, Churashima!!

It was a buffet style restaurant.

But a little bit different from ordinary buffet restaurant in Japan. It was full of Okinawan cuisine!

Goya Champuru! (A kind of fried vegitables)

Soki, or boiled cartilage!

Kubu irichi, or Stir-fry of kelp!

Taco Rice self-made corner!

Okinawan Soba!

Personally I liked the most “Hijiki Tempura”!

I have eaten Hijiki (one of seaweeds) Tempura for the first time in over 10 years. Very Good!

You do not like Okinawan cuisine so much? Please be relieved. There were foods like spaghetti, sushi and fried potatoes too!

The Churashima’s buffet has abundant dessert.

Small cakes and Small Sata-andagi (Okinawan style deep-fried bread) with chocolate!

I love sweets, so I ate about 10 cakes. lol

Other highlights

Gyokusendo is located in the theme park “Okinawa World” as I mentioned above.

So there are more places to enjoy besides the cave.

Among them, what surprised me most was to see some of the Habu (Okinawan viper sneak) liquor manufacturing process!

A large amount of snakes were pickled in a metal barrel!

Oh… thank you, snakes …

The below are Habu liquors with 13 herbal extracts. The price was about 10,000 thousand yen (about 100 dollars).

I want to drink it.

The most expensive Habu liquor “Okuman Choja” (meaning billionaire sneak) was 250,000 yen (about 2,500 dollars)!!

I would like to taste it once before I die!

At the end

To tell the truth, this was the second time I visited the Gyokusendo cave.

For the first time, I was very young. Therefore, I have only a memory like “I went to somehow scary cave”.

But as you know, it is more enjoyable to go sightseeing spots, historical heritage, or natural heritage after becoming an adult.

Regarding Gyokusendo, I was glad that I became a mood of RPG’s brave.

The time required for Okinawa World is about 3 hours including meals. If you only look at the caves, an hour is enough.

You should go there!