Translated by Greg
Fugaku Fuketsu Wind Cave: A Natural Fridge At The Base Of Mt Fuji!
Written by Maki
Mount Fuji is the symbol of Japan, and the mountain's base is dotted with numerous caves, the result of volcanic activity many years ago. Today we'll take you on a tour inside the cool confines of one of them, Fugaku Fuketsu Wind Cave.
Recognized as the symbol of Japan, Mount Fuji is a popular sightseeing destination. Mount Fuji is an active volcano though, and as a result of volcanic activity from many years ago, there are numerous caves in the nearby area.
First there's the Narusawa Hyoketsu Ice Cave, which has icicles throughout the year. Then there's also the Fugaku Fuketsu Wind Cave. Like the name suggests, a cool breeze passes through, and it has an inside yearly temperature that averages three degrees celsius.
In today's article we'll be introducing Fugaku Fuketsu Wind Cave where the inside temperature is pleasantly cool and comfortable.
First We'll Pass Through the Forest at Mount Fuji's Base
Fugaku Fuketsu is located in the Aokigahara Jukai forest, an area thick with trees and greenery.
This cave is located less than one kilometer from the Narusawa Hyoketsu Ice Cave, and only takes thirteen minutes on foot to get there. So it's a good idea to explore both of these caves on the same trip.
From this sign on the main road to the entrance of the cave, it only takes two minutes on foot.
In Japan there's a common myth that if you take one step into Aokigahara Jukai forest, you won't be able to find your way back out.
One look at this thick, dense forest and it does appear that if one veered off the beaten track they might have difficulties getting back. But no need to worry, because there's a properly designated path that you can easily follow without getting lost.
On the side of the path, there are a number of gaping holes in the ground.
These gas cavities are the result of gas escaping from streams of hardened lava, which flowed during one of Mount Fuji's eruptions many years ago. Here you can sense one of the dynamic marvels of nature.
When you get to the main gate of the cave area, pass your ticket to the staff at the counter and proceed inside. Here you can borrow a helmet, so for those who'd like to exercise some caution, please feel free to put one on before continuing.
Let's Go Inside the Pleasantly Cool Cavern
Shortly after passing through the gate, the cave's sign came into view. Fugaku Fuketsu has been designated as a special national monument.
The cave runs lengthwise for a total of two hundred and one meters, so the same route can be used on the return part of your trip as well.
When you start walking down the stairs leading into the cave, the temperature drops and you can feel the coolness inside.
Compared to the Narusawa Hyoketsu Ice Cave, the route here is fairly wide making it easy to walk, but right at the entrance area, the ceiling of the cave is low so please watch your head.
A Cavern That Once Served as a Natural Refrigerator
Enter the cave and suddenly the air feels cold.
Lit up right in front of us is a huge block of ice that covers the whole floor area of the cave. If feels surprisingly cool down here, making it hard to believe that it's summertime.
During the winter these ice pillars grow in size, almost reaching the ceiling, but even during the summer months they manage to stay quite long.
As you continue down this route, you can see the rough textured surface of the rocks, and the rugged brown-colored walls which keep changing their appearance.
The inner part of the cave mostly consists of basalt, which has unique sound absorption qualities. As I recall, when we were talking there wasn't an echo, which made it easy to hear what the other person was saying.
In the deepest part of the cave there's a set of shelves lined with some metal cans. Up until about 1950, the cave was actually used as a natural cold storage facility, and these shelves are a re-creation of that period.
At the time there weren't any refrigerators, so the cool temperatures of the cave were used to store tree seeds, and cocoons that were actually used for making silk.
Since the temperature inside the cave stays relatively constant throughout the year, I can now see how this would make a good natural refrigerator. By coming down here into this cavern, I got a sense of how people living in olden times used their knowledge and wisdom.
So what did you think of Fugaku Fuketsu Wind Cave, once used as a natural fridge?
It takes about fifteen minutes to complete this underground tour. There's limited up and down terrain, so almost anyone can enjoy walking through this cave.
During the lingering heat of these summer months, walking through the cave in a pleasantly cool atmosphere makes the perfect activity.
So on your next visit to the base of Mount Fuji, together with Narusawa Hyoketsu Ice Cave, how about exploring the unique Fugaku Fuketsu Wind Cave?