I was lucky enough to get back to Genbudo, the awesomest cave in Hyogo, the other day.
(View my previous post on Genbudo here: Genbudo Park)
There was a lot of snow on the ground for my last visit, but this time the weather was much warmer.
First, a little bit on location. Genbudo Station is located right between Toyooka and Kinosaki Onsen, so it’s an easy stop if you’re visiting anywhere in northern Hyogo.
So you’d think that once you arrive at the station, it’d be an easy stroll to the cave, right?
Wrong! The cave and the train station are actually located on opposite sides of the formidable Maruyama River!
Once you arrive at the station, you need to call for a ferry to come and pick you up. The ferry is run by the Genbudo Museum located right by the cave, so this service is available during museum hours (9-5).
Just give them a call, and in a few moments, the tiniest little boat and the awesomest museum employee ever will come pick you up for a three-minute ride across the river!
Genbudo is acutally a series of caves composed of really unusual hexagonal rock columns – at a massive scale.
While we were visiting, a tour group happened to be there as well, and the tour guide told us some fun stories about the origin and discovery of the cave, as well as showing us this dragon statue which was apparently constructed impromptu by tourists.
Visitors throw coins and try to land them on the dragon for good luck. We gave it a try, but didn’t have much success. We’ll just have to come back!
Next, I’m hoping for a chance to visit Genbudo in mid-summer. I’d love to see the caves covered with greenery in the bright summer sun.
Bonus: if you visit at certain times, you’ll get to meet Gen-san, the most hilarious and awesome local mascot in all of Japan, in my humble opinion. Here are three reasons why Gen-san is better than any other regional character:
1. He’s made of hexagonal slabs of granite.
2. He is dressed like an “oyaji” (middle-aged Japanese man).
3. He is always either angry or drunk.
I mean, seriously, could you come up with a better character to represent your region?
Note that many unique Gen-san items, such as sake and underwear (?!) are for sale at the Genbudo Museum.
Gen-san appears on Mondays, Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays at 10:30 AM and 2:00 PM, so be sure to time your visit to meet him!
Hours: 9 AM – 5 PM
Address: 1362 Akaishi, Toyooka-shi, Hyogo 668-0801
Website: http://www3.ocn.ne.jp/~genbudo/ (Japanese only)
How To Get There
From Sannomiya: Take a limited express “Hamakaze” train to Toyooka or Kinosaki Onsen (2.5 hours), then switch to the local train and travel one stop to Genbudo Station.
At the station, call the Genbudo Museum to be picked up by ferry.
(For those who don’t want to bother with the ferry, I recommend taking a short taxi ride from Kinosaki or Toyooka instead.)