Located at the Kusama plateau in western Okayama prefecture, Rashomon is a place where in ancient times the ceiling of an enormous cave collapsed and formed natural bridges.
About a 10-minute walk along the trail from the parking area I see a massive stone arch in front of me.
An enormous natural bridge with a height of 38 meters and width of 17 meters, this is the "Daiichimon" ('first gate') of Rashomon.
Rashomon includes four gates from "Daiichimon" to "Daiyonmon" ('fourth gate'). The walking trail passes under "Daiichimon" and continues on.
After passing through the first gate, I look back and see how the sunlight filters through the tree leaves in the middle of the arch!
Seeing this mystical sight, my sense of exploration grows stronger!
Walking for around another 5 minutes, I reach the "Dainimon" ('second gate').
Although I can see two hollows, the second gate is an absolutely massive single rock…
And further to the right there is one more cave!
The scale of it is amazing, isn't it!
The route leading to the opening further to the right is slightly steep. The many fallen rocks make the going difficult, so I walk on very carefully.
I turn to look back after climbing for a bit.
On the right is the hollow through which I entered. At the opening on the left you can find an observation deck.
As I continue to climb further up, a surprise is waiting for me!
In the right upper corner you can see a hollow that’s almost like a skylight!
So this monolith actually has a total of 4 hollows!
Beyond the observation deck you can see another hollow! Actually, this is the "Daiyonmon" ('fourth gate') of the Rashomon.
Yours truly, Matsuoka photo-writer, tried his best to get to the skylight, but as you might imagine, this one cannot be climbed just like that!
I gave up on the climb, and just gazed upon the skylight from below. The trees showing on the outside are just radiant, aren't they?
By the way, the "Daisanmon" ('third gate') of Rashomon is located between the first and the second, but as its interior is a dead end, strictly speaking it's not really a gate.
Also, the fourth gate, located beyond the observation deck, is a long and narrow limestone cave and is currently off-limits.
Rashomon is a group of enormous stone arches located at a karst plateau around 400 meters above sea level. It has been designated as one of Japan's natural monuments as well as selected among Japan's top 100 geological features.
Due to the low temperature and highly humid air blowing from the cave entrances, it's a place that remains cool even during the Japanese summer.
The arches are also close to Ikura-do cave [ https://setouchifinder.com/en/detail/670 ], a large limestone cave with a total length of 1.2 kilometers.
How about visiting to do some cave exploring, etc. next summer?
Location: 5433 Kusama, Niimi city, Okayama prefecture
Guide Homepage: http://www.okayamakanko.jp/modules/kankouinfo/pub_kihon_detail.php?sel_id=1033&sel_data_kbn=0 (Japanese)
Setouchi Finder Photo-writer: Hironobu Matsuoka
Hironobu Matsuoka / Photo-writer Born in 1974 in Nishinomiya, Hyogo Prefecture, and currently living there, Hironobu is the president of Mediapolis Inc. "I travel around the country in Solar King, an eco-camping car that has a solar power generator, and film the beautiful scenery of Japan in high-definition. I want to move around the country as much as possible and leave behind videos of precious Japanese nature and scenery for future generations to enjoy. Although I travel all over the country, I love my home area of Setouchi." 'Healing Japan TV' - Traveling virtually around the country through 'healing videos'.
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