Monday, March 31, 2014

A Cave Called Sururu Gama on Kouri-jima Island Okinawa

Where You Can Do Some Adventure Praying



This will be the 3d year in a row, this culture and camera fanatic hiked down there.

It is an annual springtime ritual that takes place on an offshore island.

The significance to all the activity has eluded me, until today.

hiking down trail to cave

 There's not much information (in English) about the event, online.

These photos will give you an idea what it looks like, though.

trail leading to sea level cave

 Somewhere around 30-50 people hike down this trail.

The final destination, is a cave on the beach below.

scene as cameraman trips and falls

 This is what it looks like when a cameraman trips and falls while shooting.

The people in front of and below me, stopped me from falling.

jungle vegetation lines trail

 We continued, slowly and carefully, down the rest of the way.

visitors climb down trail towards cave

 One of these days, I might die, doing crazy stuff like this.

That's alright with me. It beats sitting around in the old folks home.

Being outside in nature even beats watching TV.

ropes help in descent to ocean

Some spots, along the trail, you have to hang on to a rope or, fall like I did.

people assist in steep descent towards cave

Everybody helps each other navigate the steep parts of the trail.

When we finally, hit the beach, it's time to dig and, crawl into the cave.

prayer and offerings inside cave
Why this event is held at this time of year, I just discovered today.

It took the use of three different languages but, now I know.

The third day of the third month, by the Lunar calendar is what its all about.

The ocean tides, in spring, reach their highest and lowest points in the year.

Known as Hamakudari, in Japanese, it is a special time of the year.

Depending, where you may be located, in Okinawa, there are other names for the event.

Hamauri, Sangwachi san-nichi and Sanguacha are other terms used.

People, mostly women, pray and bath in the seawater.

It is believed to cleanse the soul and bring about good health.

What's so Adventurous About Sururu Gama ?


The event is timed, to take place, starting at low tide.

Remember, the spring tide, on this date, is the lowest tide of the year.

cave fills with seawater as tide returns

Everybody has to get out of that cave, before the tide starts coming back in.

The photo above, crawling into the cave was taken at 12:07PM APR 3, 2012.

The Motion GIF image was shot  APR 3, 2012 at 2:22PM.

At high tide (peak tide of the year) the cave would be invisible.

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