During the war, the only place to build airplanes where they wouldn't get bombed turned out to be inside mountains in abandoned mines. There is a huge mine / airplane factory in Oya, Utsunomiya. There is also a 22m tall statue as well as several thousand year old relief carvings. They are all within a 15 minute walk of each other. It's quit easy to get to and can be a half day trip.

 

Oya Kannon and Japan's oldest Buddhist Relief Carvings - Airplane factory built inside a mountain

The relief drawings were carved into the side of this cliff and are now protected by
this building. There are no photos allowed inside. The one behind the building to the
is the coolest. The others are cool in a lesser way.

Here is part of the cool carving, looks like someone took a secret photo.

 

Oya Kannon and Japan's oldest Buddhist Relief Carvings - Airplane factory built inside a mountain

There was a nice Japanese garden beyond the carvings. See more Japanese Zen Gardens.

A popular hobby in Japan is watching men pee.

Oya Kannon and Japan's oldest Buddhist Relief Carvings - Airplane factory built inside a mountain

Apparently the Oya Kannon is under construction of sorts. Though I do know from pictures that big space on
the right that looks like it was solid, was just a tunnel at one time and now it has fallen down or something.

Oya Kannon and Japan's oldest Buddhist Relief Carvings - Airplane factory built inside a mountain

A close up of the Kannon. A 1.5 Meg photo can be downloaded here.
Just right click the link and download it and use it for whatever reason you want.

Now let's take a walk and look for the underground airplane factory. It's about 15 minutes away.

Oya Kannon and Japan's oldest Buddhist Relief Carvings - Airplane factory built inside a mountain

That looks like an entrance to a cave.

Down down down we go, and it's 13 C so bring a sweater or light coat.

Oya Kannon and Japan's oldest Buddhist Relief Carvings - Airplane factory built inside a mountain

You can't really take good photos in a huge dark cavern, and I even used a tripod / night setting / and a timer.

Oya Kannon and Japan's oldest Buddhist Relief Carvings - Airplane factory built inside a mountain

Flashes only throw about 50-70 feet.

Perhaps if there was some way I could have constructed a rudimentary lathe.

Oya Kannon and Japan's oldest Buddhist Relief Carvings - Airplane factory built inside a mountain

There was a path to follow for part, and we could freely walk in other parts.

 

Oya Kannon and Japan's oldest Buddhist Relief Carvings - Airplane factory built inside a mountain

Constant temperatures make for a good refrigerator.

 

There were different rooms like this all over the place. It wasn't one big space as I thought.

Oya Kannon and Japan's oldest Buddhist Relief Carvings - Airplane factory built inside a mountain

Back up more stairs takes us to the exit, which is still up more stairs.

 

Oya Kannon and Japan's oldest Buddhist Relief Carvings - Airplane factory built inside a mountain

A dark long view of the main room. It was impressive.

 

Oya Kannon and Japan's oldest Buddhist Relief Carvings - Airplane factory built inside a mountain

Up and out we go, back to warmer weather.

 

Directions
Get to Utsunomiya station somehow.
Exit the West Exit, go down to the bus stops.
Find stop #6. It is to the left near the Koban and Gyoza places.
Get on bus #45 going to Tate-Iwa. ().
Listen for Oya Kannon. There will be a Oya Hashi, but ignore that (for now), though do pay attention to where it was.

 

From the bus stop you can see the back of the Kannon's head. You want to walk back from where the bus came and follow the signs to the entrance. Since they are doing construction, you are actually walking through people's backyards.

To see the carvings, walk back to the bus stop then straight and to the right. There will be people and buses.

Getting to the underground airplane factory isn't as easy and I will draw a map in a below like manner.

The above "To mountain factory..." connects with the small bridge on the bottom right of the map in the below like manner.  Click here for the Tobu World Square World Heritage Miniature World nearby.