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Let’s Join Tour to Valley of Gangala!
post : 2014.08.14 18:00
Valley of Gangala is situated in Tamagusuku, Nanjo City in the south of mainland Okinawa. The Valley of Gangala is a lush green, subtropical forest which had been formed when a limestone cave collapsed several hundred thousand years ago. You can join a walking tour to the valley with a specialized guide!!
The size of the valley is about one Tokyo dome and the walking tour distance is about 1km. You walk through the valley for about 80 minutes while listening to a specialized guide. Basically you can join even when you wear casual wear. Since you walk in the natural surroundings, I would recommend you take preventive measure against insect bite in summer.
* They will let you apply some anti-insect gel before departure.
Alright, let’s go!!
With sunlight filtering down through the trees and soothing sounds of river water flowing though rocks sometimes with wind blow, this is fabulously comfortable space!
Yuuhi River runs in the valley and on both sides of the forest, bare rocks of limestone tower up, where stalactites sometimes can be seen. That is the proof that this place used to be a cave.
In the face of graceful nature transcending time of several hundred thousand years and its magnificent view, you will be left speechless.
The guide can tell the history of the valley, names of flora and fauna that inhabit here.
Oh, here is “Aomi Okatanishi (Leptopoma nitidum, literally meaning blue-bodied land snail),” which is often found in the valley.
Its body is blue and its shell is so transparently thin that Aomi Okatanishi looks blue when it is alive.
In addition, we saw Japan’s largest spider “Oojorougumo”(Nephila clavata, the Jorō Spider) and beautiful, golden green-colored “Nanahoshi Kinkamemushi (Calliphera excellens, Jewel Bug ),” many of which stopped at the back of the leave.
You can encounter many interesting living natures that you cannot usually see, so it would be perfect for a great summer memory to bring your children to look for and observe bugs and other living things. The volley is full of wonders of natural life forms.
You cannot go into “Inagu-do Cave,” but people who wish to have an easy delivery or to make a good match have come here from a long time ago.
“Inagu” is an Okinawan word meaning a female. If you go into the Inagu-do Cave deeper, you can look at stalactites shaped like hips and breasts, which are the symbols of female body.
After the Inagu-do, you receive a quaint lantern and move into the cave called “Ikiga-do cave,” which is a dark cave where Yuuhi River runs. “Ikiga” is an Okinawan word meaning “male.”
A sense of adventure reaches its climax.♪
When you move further on,
a stalactite shaped like the symbol of male body will be in front of you!!!
I don’t know why but this is a place where tour participants’ spirits reach their peak and so much flash are used. (lol)
Please join the tour to watch it closely♪
The Ikiga-do has been worshiped as a deity for male and believed to be good for those who wish to be given a baby. Both of the caves, the Inagu-do and Ikiga-do, have been considered as caves for wishing a birth of a baby.
There are other places where you can feel the mysterious power of nature in the valley.
When heavy rainy days continue, the water level of the river reaches the ceiling of the Ikiga-do Cave, which has made stalactites grow vertically in the same direction. The stalactites are so unusual that experts have come here to observe them.
You pass through a ginat rock that was collapsed and fell onto a small rock, which created a natural formation like a tunnel. And keep going,….
Finally you see “Ufushu Gajumaru (Giant Banyan Tree) face to face.”
You might be wondering how many years the Ufuju Gajumaru has been here.
With root systems extending horizontally at the soil surface, the giant tree has grown higher and higher to the sky; this makes you feel a mystery of life.
It looks as if the tree warmly protected us staring up at it.
In Okinawa, it has been said that a sprite called “Kijimunaa” live in the Gajumaru trees. You usually see it has grown sideway and its hanging roots look like beards. The roots move sideways to go in the grounds to set deep. To put it simply, the Gajumaru trees are moving! The Ufushu Gajumaru stretched into the bottom of the collapsed valley, and over about 150 years, it has developed this tall figure.
Now we are at “Bugei-do Cave,” the last place of the tour.
In fact, a stone coffin of about 3,000 years old was excavated here in 2008. From the coffin, the whole body of an ancient human skeleton was discovered in almost perfect condition. The fossilized skeleton of the Minatogawa Man in those days was preserved in an incredibly good condition.
Here you can hear about how the excavation of old ruins has been carried out. The excavation work still continues today and you can see it face to face in a certain period. You might be able to encounter a historic moment!!!
In September, they are scheduled to resume the excavation in “Cave Café,” which is the departure point of the tour.
Why don’t you take your children with you during their summer vacation to journey to the mystery of life?
I am sure it will remain in your heart as well as in your children’s heart.
Valley of Gangala
Address: 202 Maekawa Tamagusuku, Nanjo-shi,
Reservation Phone Number: 098-948-4192
（Please check the departure time below. They have the restricted capacity of the tour.）
Hours for Reservation: 9:00 to 18:00
Open 365 Days A Year
Tour Fee: 2,200 yen for adults（Free for children under senior high school with parental guidance）, 1,700 yen for students.
Tour Departure Time: (1) 10:00 (2) 12:00 (3) 14:00 (4) 16:00
Okinawa CLIP Photo Writer 0173 (Reina Chinen)