Places

Underground again

Since I couldn’t see the sea cave on Monday I decided to compensate that by visiting a limestone cave. This one actually has a website with opening hours and other information so a fairly ‘save’ place to choose.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERACar park at the cave

However I couldn’t find any information about public transport.
It’s only about 10km from Tōma station but I didn’t want to walk again especially since it was very humid and warm, as always. Thankfully a lovely shop assistant at the stations small grocery store gave me the number of a taxi company.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERANext to the cave entrance. The dragon seems to be the symbol of the town.

The cave is located outside of Tōma surrounded by fields, forests and mountains. A few hiking trails start there as well.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERACascade at the rock garden near the cave

It’s an absolutely amazing and fairly large cave. Full of limestone of all shapes and sizes. What’s special about this cave is that a lot of them are unusually clear.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASurprise, it’s a cave, it’s dark, pictures turned out shit.

The paths are very narrow, maybe 50cm/20″ wide most of the time, and the ceiling gets really low in some places as well. There was an about 3m/9.8′ long passage where it was only 1.5m/4.9′ high (maybe, just guessing). And of course with a lot of tiny stalactites pointing down.
There were also some small ponds.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt was way more beautiful than the picture shows.

The only really annoying thing was that they apparently thought it was a good idea to play some informational audio really loudly throughout the cave without interruption. It was just the same stuff over and over again, not different information of different spots.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAYes, that are coins

As I got back to the town I had to wait for two hours for the train so I went for a short walk but returned to the station because it was cooler. Temperature wise. And thus also metaphorically.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThat street led to some park

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Places

Trains, trains, ancient carvings, and TRAINS!

In order to not have to hurry for a change I went to Otaru. It’s quite close to Sapporo about 40 minutes by train and there’s an express train every 30 minutes in addition to a few local ones. (Also I went there before in winter.)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASince Otaru is known for its glass work the station is full of fancy lamps.

So I left fairly late and was there at about 11am. My destination was the Temiya Cave. It’s located a bit outside the town centre so I took a bus. And then walked up a steep hill for a good amount of time. Unfortunately that was the wrong direction. (What’s new?) But I did find a nice park.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERADon’t get fooled by the fog, it was really hot.

The cave is next to the Otaru General Museum so I just went there first. And it turned out to be a most amazing place. The first floor was about science with one room containing a lot of experiments to try yourself and the other displaying examples of technology mimicking nature (like rainwear which like lotus leaves repels water).

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis is in the engine that stood inside the museum.

The ground floor had information about the history of Japanese/Hokkaidō/Otaru railway.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOld stuff!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMore old stuff!

And outside were an abundance of old engines, wagons and other train things from different time periods. Almost all of them were open to enter even the driver’s cabs. So many buttons and levers and wheels and no ‘Don’t touch!’ signs!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThere were more than you can see here.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAPost train?

There was one engine that was moving, not sure where though because all the tracks ended at the end of the museum area which wasn’t too big.
And there was a separate building with a lot of train/engine/(I don’t know technology) parts displayed.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIsn’t it pretty?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERANo, it didn’t smell too nice in the wagons to be honest, especially with the heat. But so what?

So yeah, it’s an absolutely awesome place.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAYeah…

Then I went to the cave and was kinda disappointed. It was more like a small room with some information boards and a glass window behind which you could see the cave wall with some really old carvings. They also had some old dishes/pottery displayed, presumably found there. The entrance fee was only 100¥ and it was nice and chilly, so I don’t really have a reason to complain.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAEven older stuff.

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