THE JAPANESE CAVES IN BALI

Image by Marcky Bolung, CC BY 3.0

As Japan had colonized Indonesia for around three and a half years, the Japanese left a number of historical objects.

Japanese troops used the caves as bunkers or underground bastion tunnels and those caves are called Goa Jepang or Japanese Cave. Such facilities were built by forced labor, a lot of sad and bloody events had ever happened in that period of time.

Most Goa Jepang or Japanese caves were the places for torturing prisoners to death. That’s why such locations are so spooky and visitors will always get goosebumps when they stepped into the bunkers or bastion passages.

According to the history, a lot of people were trapped in forced labor during the construction of Goa Jepang. The locals claim that they often see the spirits of the dead near the Japanese caves. Some of them look seriously wounded and walked like zombies. Besides the walking dead, there’re the scary creatures that have the appearance of half human and half animal.

These amazing caves in Bali were built during the Japanese occupation, which lasted from 1941 to 1942. The caves are on a curved cliff that follows the contours of the land and is located near the highway that connects Klungkung to Gianyar regency.

The Japanese caves are widely known on Bali Island. Those who often pass there and people who usually take a trip to Besakih or the eastern part of Bali know this place very well. This route is the access to Karangasem, klungkung, Gianyar and Denpasar. Tour buses tend to stop there, so that the tourists have the chance to take a look at these relics. However, this location has become less crowded since the Ida Bagus Mantra bypass was built.

The dark Japanese caves feel scary because they lack visitors and there’re only a few food stalls nearby. Occasionally, some drivers stop there to take selfies outside the caves.

The Japanese caves are well maintained and the river valley looks so green. There’s a park on the opposite side of the road where visitors may take a rest or take some photos with the background of the Japanese caves.

Besides Japanese caves, there is the statue of a big elephant with a red white spotted fawn on its back. This place can be easily recognized by the motorcyclists or drivers who drive through Banjarangkan village.

The Japanese caves have a high historical value and they’re the cultural heritages that should be preserved. There is also a Balinese Hindu temple for people to worship. The spiritual atmosphere can be felt by anyone at this location.

The Japanese Cave or Goa Jepang at Banjarangkan has 16 caves, 14 of which are linked together by passageways. The other two are at the end of the left and right sides and each stands alone. It’s hard to guess what type of strategy applied by the Japanese armed forces during the occupation.

All the caves are approximately 4 meters deep. It’s very convenient to move along the passageways that link all the fourteen caves.

No janitors are seen at the caves, but every passageway is clean. The scenery around the Goa Jepang is beautiful. People who come to this site can park their cars or motorbikes at the parking lot.

The building that was formerly used by souvenir vendors and food stalls is in bad condition and empty, so it looks something like a haunted house.

It is about 30 kilometers from Denpasar if you take the Ida Bagus Mantra bypass. There’re a lot of tourist attractions along the way. It’s a good idea to rent a car to go to Japanese caves as well as visiting the other interesting places.

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