(七ツ釜) Nanatsugama Sea Caves

Nanatsugama caves are created by the rough wind and waves of the Genkai Sea eroding a basalt coast (source), which I can imagine seeing the strong waves hammering at the caves when I went. 

Budget: JPY1,520 (~USD14) from Karatsu Station. 
  • JPY1,520. Roundtrip bus from Karatsu Station. (I paid JPY760 one way, via IC card)
    • +JPY1,800. If you take the ferry
    • +JPY2,410. One day's worth allocated with Seishun 18 ticket.
    • *There’s a JPY2,000ish bus pass from Fukuoka, that I am too lazy to add at the moment, but if you want me to look for it, just leave a comment. 
Visit Date
  • December 27, 2021
When to Go
Throughout the year, but avoid stormy periods because ferry trips will be cancelled.
The ferry has time restrictions, the viewing deck/park does not. 

Special Notes
  • There are two ways to see the caves - via (1) viewing deck/park or (2) ferry
  • Via Viewing Deck. No entrance fees, and with plenty of tables and benches for those wanting a picnic. 
    • Google maps pin for those with cars.
    • For those like me without a car, access is not easy but doable:
      • Train to Nishi Karatsu Station. 
      • Bus, Nishi-Karatsu Station (西唐津駅前) to Nanatsugama Iriguchi (七ツ釜入口). IC Card accepted.
        • Here's the map of the bus lines to see the closest bus stops. Bus schedule, JPY710 one way.
        • Another alternative is to take the bus from bus terminal near Karatsu Station. The bus terminal is called Oteguchi (大出口), google maps pin
      • Walk, 30 minutes from the bus stop to the sea caves. Google maps will help you here. 
  • via Ferry. Trips may be cancelled depending on the weather, so make sure to check prior to going. The ferry company will only confirm if they will cancel the trips or not on the day of, at around 8:30am via their website. But if you know the weather forecast, then you have the idea if it will be cancelled or not. The area going to the caves are very risky with the waves becoming punishing easily, so expect a cancellation if there’s a warning in Saga/Karatsu about the waves. 
      • Marinepal Yobuko holds a boat tour daily for JPY1,800 per person, around 40 minutes. They hold seven tours from 9:30am to 4:30pm. 
        • Access is similar to the one above, Yobuko (呼子) is the stop after Nanatsugama Iriguchi. 
Itinerary
  • 12:00pm. Bus, Oteguchi to Nanatsugama Iriguchi. 
  • 12:34pm. Arrive at Nanatsugama Iriguchi. Walk to the park. 
  • Spend time, as the next buses are at 1:48pm and 3:51pm. 
  • 03:51pm. Bus, Nanatsugama Iriguchi to Oteguchi. 
  • 04:25pm. Back at Oteguchi. 
Actual log
I was already staying at Hotel Karae near Karatsu Station at this time, mainly to see the caves haha.
  • 12:00pm. Bus, Oteguchi to Nanatsugama Iriguchi. Bus stop 2. 
  • 12:34pm. Arrived at Nanatsugama Iriguchi. Opened google maps, and started walking. There are some ups and downs, but very minimal. 
  • 01:00pm. Arrived at the parking lot. There’s a store that was closed at the parking lot, and some vending machines. That’s it, so make sure you bring your own food. I walked around, and it’s a pretty small park so I covered everything in about 30 minutes, including pictures and going up and down the different picture spots. 
  • 02:00pm. Sat in one of the cottages, and waited. 
  • 03:00pm. Started walking back to the bus stop. 
  • 03:30pm. Arrived at the bus stop, and waited for a bit. 
  • 03:51pm. Bus, Nanatsugama Iriguchi to Oteguchi. 
  • 04:25pm. Back at Oteguchi, and walked to Karatsu Station to buy some food. 
The bus schedule. 

Bus stop. Yep, that's the one sign of the bus stop - the little thing to the right. 

Starting my walk towards the cave - this is the only offshoot from the main road where I got off the bus. 

Took a left here. Then it was mainly straight, following google maps. 

Finally there! Just a couple of cars, but there is another parking lot so this is not all there is to it. 

With a restroom at the entrance. 

Walking in a weirdly empty path. 

Took a right here - but honestly, at this point, all paths will lead to the caves. 

This was very, very windy. 

WHOA!

I have a dozen shots of this. 

Behind me. 

View from the elephant's view point. 

Is this... basalt?

The elephant's trunk viewing point. 

This is the island right on top of the caves. 

There's a statue on one part of the park. 

Here she is. 

A closer look. 

Plenty of rest stops. This is the bench where I read the rest of Trevor Noah's book while waiting an hour because my next bus will still take a while. 




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