One of our first adventures this year, brought us to the 100 caves of Yoshimi. The caves are tombs and there are actually 216 of them. It was our first time to visit the caves and an attraction of that type. I wasn’t sure how much the kids would enjoy it. Much to my delight, they were really eager to explore the terrain and the facilities on site.
What my young children enjoyed:
There are WWII bunkers (tunnels) on the ground floor, which the kids thrilled in running around, and pretending to be super heroes fighting evil. (Yes, I know, the irony!) They enthusiastically climbed the dozens of steps to the top of the hill into which the tombs are set. They popped in and out of the caves that are accessible. They played with the toys set out in the community centre at the entrance. They had traditional New Year toys set out as it was the first week in January. They always have some toys and colouring pages and markers available for young children to play with.
I really enjoyed our morning there, too. However, a note to parents, it is not the safest of places to bring more than 2 small children per adult. I had my then newborn in a baby carrier and my 2 year old held my hand, but my then 3 year old and 5 year old ran ahead to climb the stairs to the top of the hill. They were okay, but an accident could easily happen as the hill is very steep and there are limited guard rails and the ones that do exist my kids would slip through! Also, in the summer and autumn they have a problem with killer hornets. Another thing to note for parents with small children; leave your buggy / stroller in the car as you can’t bring it up the hill or stairs or into the caves. You can wheel it through the bunkers though. All that said, it is still a place worth visiting!
You can partake of craft workshops on the grounds.
There is a free play area in the main building.
There are vending machines.
There are toilets and a changing mat.
The area is beautiful during cherry blossom (sakura) season.
Hours: 8.30 am to 5 pm, 7 days a week.
Cost: Free entry for children up to 6 years old. 200 yen for primary school aged children. 300 yen for children over 12 years old and adults. Free parking for up to 250 cars.
Address: 324 Kita Yoshimi, Yoshimi Town, Hiki District, Saitama
Bus : from Tobu Tojo Line Higashimatsuyama station bound for 百吉見穴.
Car: 5 km from Higashimatsuyama Interchange of the Kanestsu expressway, in the direction of Konosu.
Some more photos of the facilities and scenery hereafter.
For more information in English on the history of the caves, please take a look at Jojoebi designs detailed blog post about them.