Crystal Cave and Kawakami-Brand Dogs

November 24th, 2009 by
Category: Accomodations, Experience, Information, Onsens (Hot Springs), Sightseeing





I proudly announce you; we have a crystal cave in our village!

It is a shame that this crystal cave has been almost ignored by general local villagers.

Villagers just take it for granted that it exists here.

I also was no exception,until I have got an opportunity to interview the owner 3 years ago.



He is…well,villagers all know him. He is an inn-keeper of Yunuma Kosen here.

Tadao-san of Yunuma Kosen
Inside the inn;not particularly gorgeous,but definately cosy to sit here and chat with whoever comes along

Inside the inn;not particularly gorgeous,but definately cosy to sit here and chat with whoever comes along

Tadao-san is also a breeder of the Kawakami dog.

Kawakami dogs are brand dogs  in our village which used to be hunter dogs until 60 years ago.

They almost extincted once, but now they are popular among dog lovers througout the country thanks to the village breeders.


nine puppies have just been born

nine puppies have just been born






Yunuma Kosen is a lodging with a bath of a mineral spring. (Only the water is cooler than 25 degrees celsius when it springs.Of course they heat the water to make a nice bath, but legally speaking it is called “kosen”, and not “onsen” if the water temperature when it springs is below 25C.)

 One day some 40 years ago, the owner thought of gold-mining here. ( In the inner part of Kawkami vil.,gold was mined through 15~19 centuries.)

It turned out that he struck crystal instead of gold. But the crystals were precious green colored heart shaped crystals which have found only in Japan so far,so he was excited.

Then he dug a pathway through the place where he had found the crystal so that people  can see the vein by walking through it.

The true worth of this cave is that it shows crystal in the exact place where it originally located,and still locates. The owner thought it better to show the crystal in its original state rather than digging it out and display it in showcase.

a mom of four

a mom of four


 When I sometimes take guests to the cave, I ask the owner to come along and lecture us on anything he is recently interested in.

The dogs would appear from nowhere to lead us to the cave entrance.

in front of the entry way to the cave

in front of the entry way to the cave

Then he would tell us about how into a blank space between minerals came air, water, and gas,and eventually how crystal was gethered to be crystal.( long before the humankind was born,of course)

And how all the things ,including ourselves are originally made from minerals.




the entrance for the cave

the entrance for the cave

” In this exact place I found these crystals. It’s six meters below the ground.”
” Hey,that’s a big one.And it’s new! Did you find it recently?”
” Yeah, the year before last. In Kawahake region.(innermost region of the village)”
” You still dig! Good for you.”
” Well, I had a stroke last year as you know, and now a frail old man…”
 ” Oooh, poor Tadao-san. Nh?what’s this? It’s new,too!”
” Yeah, this one I found it just the other day.”
” A frail old man indeed!”
opal in water

opal in water

” What’s this opal doing in the water?”
” Japanese opal contains much water,so it would crumble in the air. So I put it in the water.”
” I see.”
His other junky ( sorry!)collections.
grind stone for gold picking probably more than 300 yrs ago

grind stone for gold picking probably more than 300 yrs ago

his tools to dig

his tools to dig

minerals and gem stones from across the world

minerals and gem stones from across the world

and so on…..
By the way, hunting season has started since the 15 th November.
The village hunters,most of them farmers and become hunters in non-farming season,(including my husband) invited their friend hunters from Sanada Town in eastern Nagano this weekend.
They are staying at this Yunuma Kosen .
” What is the difference between the mountains in Kawakami and the mountains in your region?”
” Your place has more deers than our Sugadaira Highland. In our place, there are more wild boars.
This year those wild boars took effort to harvest all MY potatoes and rice!”
” How do you like the inn?”
” Splendid! It’s so cosy. You can just be yourself and relax.”
Informations for those interested in visiting Yunuma Kosen;
15 minutes bus ride from  Shinano Kawakami station,JR Koumi line. The bus stop is Igura Shimojuku.
phone: 0267-99-2771     to see through the crystal cave, adults 600yen, children 300 yen
                                                   to take a bath without staying overnight, 500yen
                                                                                                                                                         staying overnight with dinner and breakfast 7,000yen/person

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