Descend into a mesmerizing underground world at Gyokusendo Cave, part of Okinawa World theme park. The 3-mile (5-kilometer) cave was discovered in 1967, but has been in existence for at least 300,000 years.
After descending a long flight of stairs, enter the cool caverns, a nice respite from the normally high temperatures aboveground. Once below the surface of the earth, spend an hour traversing the steel walkway that stretches 2,900 feet (890 meters) through the cave’s hidden twists and turns.
Enjoy the cave’s quiet peacefulness, listening to the steady dripping of water as it falls from above and ever so slowly adds crystals to the rock formations. Peer up to view spectacular stalactites and look down to see hundreds of thousands of stalagmites.
Below the walkway, a subterranean river flows through the caverns and over waterfalls. Look closely to see the cave fish that live in the crystal-clear river. All around you, bright lights enhance the cave’s dramatic geology.
When your cave exploration ends, take the escalator back up to level ground.
If you’re visiting in September, sign up in advance for one of the daily tours that will take you to normally off-limits sections of the cave. Intended for those over the age of five, these adventurous tours require some climbing and scrambling, so you’ll wear a hard hat for safety.
Discover the rest of Okinawa World theme park. Start with Kingdom Village, a representation of a traditional Ryukyu village where you can try local crafts and music, including pottery, weaving and instrument making. If you like reptiles, stop at Habu Park, with several displays of snakes and a small zoological garden.
Find Gyokusendo Cave and Okinawa World in Nanjo, near the southern tip of Okinawa Island. Take a bus to the Gyokusendō Chūshajō stop in front of the theme park. Alternatively, travel by sightseeing taxi.
The caves are open every day. Admission is charged for the cave and village, all attractions or Habu Park only.