Our reporter ventures deep into the heartlands of Japan to find this hidden landmark.

Gumna Day is celebrated on 28 October by those who are aware of its existence, and one such person is our own Mr. Sato who set out in pursuit of the beauty that Gunma Prefecture has to offer. However, Gunma isn’t one of Japan’s more notable districts and doesn’t get quite the same attention from tourists as Kyoto or Hokkaido does.

In a way that makes the prefecture so much more mysterious, with several locations often unheard of by people even in Japan. So, in honor of Gunma Day this year, Mr. Sato found out about one such “unexplored landmark” called the Yabuzuka Quarry Ruins.

In fact, this place was so remote that Mr. Sato couldn’t quite pinpoint where it was. All he could gather was that it was in Ota City (notable for the Japan Snake Center) and near the Yabuzuka hot spring and Shinto shrine. In the same area was the Hotel Fusejima, where Mr. Sato felt he could get some leads.

Sure enough, the front desk knew about the quarry ruins and guided Mr. Sato to the road that leads there from the back of the hotel. After stepping outside, the hotel’s cold steel door slammed shut behind him and he was all alone.

Mr. Sato wasn’t totally surprised by this, however. He was taking the road less traveled and, as they usually are, this one was a little rough.

However, as he continued along the path, it seemed that this road was not actually meant for humans. The brush hung over so that only a dog or wild boar could pass through comfortably. “Alright, I must be the first person to come this way in a while,” thought Mr. Sato as he pressed on.

Then he came to a halt and shouted, “Ah, come on!”

He was seriously beginning to doubt his current route as there were not one but several trees lying across his so-called road. Fed up, he decided to turn back towards the hotel and ask again.

However, on his way back he encountered a sign he hadn’t seen before for the Tomb of Kitayama. He was starting to get an unsettling Blair Witch vibe from this whole experience, but luckily he had something those argumentative kids in the movie didn’t: a map!

Checking the souvenir pamphlet the front desk had given him, he could see that the Anceint Tomb of Kitayama was very close to the Yabuzuka Quarry Ruins. Sure enough there was a sign on the road confirming this.

This path was more maintained by human hands which gave Mr. Sato encouragement that he was on the right course this time. Signs guiding him were appearing more frequently too, although the last one, telling him the quarry was only 100 meters (328 feet) away, stirred up creepy feelings as someone had left a perfectly good hat on top of it.

He continued on when suddenly something appeared from between the trees. Excitement began to fill Mr. Sato’s heart as he drew closer. He began to feel like some kind of adventurer discovering a giant ancient temple for the first time.

Then it was as if a door had been cut out of the ground to welcome him to this place. Mr. Sato began to hear an epic orchestral score play through his head. He felt like a movie hero or video game character approaching the lair of the final boss.

Passing through a door cut smoothly out of solid rock, he had arrived at the Yabuzuka Quarry Ruins. There was a magical feeling to these huge geometric outcroppings among the natural landscape and overgrowth.

Mr. Sato couldn’t help but feel in awe of it all.

This quarry had been in operation until right after World War II, producing what was known as Yabuzuka Stone. The workers here used only hatchets to cut away at the rock, bit by bit. All around Mr. Sato could see the thousands of cut marks in the sheer stone walls made by hands and blades.

It must have taken a tremendous amount of manpower and time to have created this landscape. Mr. Sato imagined what it would have been like back then, with the sounds of hatchets hitting stone echoing throughout the mountains.

But now this location sits peaceful and quiet deep in Japan. Their work has finished, but the mark left by the masons of Yabuzuka Quarry will remain for a long time after, preserved in its isolation.

It was a reminder to Mr. Sato that Japan is a place full of hidden beauty if you are willing to get off the beaten path every once in a while…and then get back on the right one.

Original article by Mr. Sato
Images ©RocketNews24
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