Miyamoto Musashi, the master of sword fighting, strategist and also the master of art, considered to be the strongest and the most respected Samurai ever in Japan’s history, who wrote down “Gorin-no-Sho” or “The Books of 5 Rings”, is said to have never been lost by any sword fighters through over 60 duels in his life. He decided to live in Kumamoto in his last years.
Reigando is a cave where Musashi finished writing all the Gorin-no-Sho. 30-minute ride from the centre of Kumamoto city leads you to this quiet and peaceful place situated behind a mountain from Kumamoto city side. Walking down from the car park, you will find a Zen temple on the right hand side first, and a small shed which is an entrance. The fee is 200 yen per person. As you pass the entrance, you can see some Musashi related exhibits such as his portrait, replica of wooden swords etc,. Then a lot of stone statues called “500 hundred Rakans” show up on the right hand side hill. “Rakan” means a holy man who deserves to be respected and given charity, in Buddhism and which were dedicated bya merchant who lived in Kumamoto, 19th century. Finally, you reach the cave, inside of which is now a temple enshrining himself. Imagine Musashi shut himself up in this small cave for 2 years to finish writing out the books.
It would be highly recommendable to stop at Shimada museum exhibiting original / replica / copies of Musashi related things such as writings, paintings, swords, armours and so on. Entrance fee is 700 yen per person.
NOTE: photography is not allowed inside the museum.