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  The History of Development
           SUMMARY   Japanese

     subtitle

   『 THE DISCOVERY OF RYUGASHI CAVERN 』

In Tabatake, Inasa town, on the south face of Mt. Ryugashi(359m.)there is a cave known tothe local people since the Taisho period (1912-1926).
The land in this district was formed during the so called "Chichibu" fossil layer of ancient limestone rock.
In the old days, bats would fly in and out of the cave at dusk, so local children would venture into the cave
    to see them. The children sometimes noticed a small opening in the cave wall, about 10x50 cm., with a draft of air coming through.
Looking into the opening with a flashlight, there seemed to be much more to the cavern. 
In June, 1981 Mr. Sadao Toda started to clean up the cave interior, carting out dirt with a single wheelbarrow.
    In October 1981 twe amateur spelunkers looked into the cave opening saying,
"When we go through this opening, we can find a new cave !" So they began to widen the opening.

The Phoenix Hall

The work was very hard.
The temperature of the cave only 15℃(60°F), and they had to dig while lying on their backs, in cold mud and underground water.
Water ran into their sleeves, and they were all muddy, but they were always looking forward to the moment
when they could enter the cave on the other side.
After three days digging, one man was able to enter the opening, and the other followed after him.
Looking up into the cavern with a flashlight, they saw numbers of stalactites hanging from the ceiling.
They were so excited in their discovery, crying " Finelly we did it !"
    Looking around the cavern they sighed with satisfaction at their discovery, remembering all their hard work and how close they were to giving up.
(Later Mr. Toda named this opening the Happiness Window.)
In exploring the cave further they had to pass through several more narrow difficuit points, but during November they reached the "Great Hall". 
    When they discovered the "White Wax Room" their map of the cavern was gradually getting longer and longer as they discovered stalactites in each succeeding room.
    The unknown world that had been sleeping under the earth for 250 million years passed before their eyes like a panoramic film. 
    Finally in December 1981, the spelunkers reached the "Golden Waterfall" In the narrow space before that, they could hear the faint sound of water.
But suddenly entering a huge cavern they felt a misty spray and were surprised to see the huge waterfall tumbling down. 
    It was entirely unexpected. They forgot all their tiredness and coldness in their amazement at the sight, staring at it with wonder-filled eyes.
The next two and a half years after the discovery of the "Golden Waterfall" were spend in investgating and developing the cave route.
    The total length of the cave was discovered to be about 1000 meters.
    Then, in October 1983 the cave was opened the public.



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