Vast underground labyrinths and lakes create a subterranean dreamworld
Ikura Cave is a massive karst limestone cave located in Okayama Prefecture, japan. This incredible natural wonder is known for its vast underground labyrinths and breathtaking subterranean lakes. The cave’s tunnels, stairwells, slippery slopes, and stalactites are all illuminated with mysterious lighting, creating a surreal and enchanting atmosphere.
One of the reasons why Ikura Cave is so popular is its association with a tragic story of unrequited love. Legend has it that about 400 years ago, two lovers named Mosaku and Arisa lived in the area. A beautiful princess named Tsuruhime visited the region and captivated Mosaku, who decided to follow her to the capital. Unfortunately, Arisa was left behind and heartbroken. Unable to bear the pain, she tragically took her own life by jumping off a ledge in Ikura Cave. The local villagers named the ledge Arisabuchi in her honor and built a shrine to commemorate her. Arisa is now worshipped as a god of marriage and a guardian angel for lovers.
Ikura Cave’s dark, slippery labyrinth of caverns is a must-see for visitors. The cave is massive, with its entrance located 240 meters up the limestone cliffs of the mountainside. Its corridors stretch and wind for 1,200 meters, and in some places, the ceiling reaches a towering height of 90 meters. As visitors explore the cave, they will encounter various unique rock formations and pools, each with its own name indicated by signs. The cave also boasts a stunning 50-meter waterfall and a particularly peculiar rock formation known as “Jellyfish Rock.”
One of the best times to visit Ikura Cave is during the summer, as it maintains a constant cool temperature of 15 degrees Celsius year-round. This provides a refreshing escape from the hot and humid Japanese summers. Visitors to Ikura Cave usually arrive by car, and there is ample parking available near the entrance. Before entering the cave, visitors can explore the shops offering souvenirs and cafes serving delicious local cuisine.
A short distance from Ikura Cave is another remarkable attraction known as Makido Cave. This cave is best reached by car, allowing visitors to make a quick trip from Ikura Cave. Makido Cave is renowned for its brilliant lighting, which surpasses even that of Ikura Cave. The cave’s lighting creates an otherworldly and magical atmosphere, earning it the nickname “Dream Palace.” In fact, the cave’s stunning beauty was used as the setting for a popular mystery film.
Makido Cave stretches for 450 meters and features an underground lake. A red bridge spans the lake, providing a picturesque view. The cave can be explored leisurely in about 30 minutes, but it’s important to note that the walk to its entrance is steep and thus requires a certain level of physical fitness. Near the parking area, visitors can find a shop offering a variety of souvenirs. One of the shop’s specialties is bakudan candy, a frozen syrup-flavored ice treat. This shop is the birthplace of this beloved Okayama treat and has been serving it for over 80 years.
The area surrounding Niimi City, where Ikura and Makido Caves are located, is known for its stunning landscape of breathtaking cliffs and unique rock formations. It’s an ideal place to take a scenic drive and appreciate the natural beauty of the region. The caves offer a fascinating glimpse into the mysterious underground world, and their association with the tragic love story adds an element of romance and intrigue.
To reach Ikura Cave, visitors can take the JR Hakubi Line from Okayama Station to Ikura Station in Niimi City. From there, it’s just a short 10-minute walk to the cave. Makido Cave is easily accessible from Ikura Station by a 40-minute bus ride. While public transportation is available, it is highly recommended to explore the caves and the surrounding area by car for a more convenient and flexible experience.
In conclusion, Ikura Cave and Makido Cave in Okayama Prefecture offer a unique and unforgettable adventure into a subterranean dreamworld. With their vast underground labyrinths, stunning rock formations, and enchanting subterranean lakes, these caves are a must-visit for nature enthusiasts and adventure seekers. Whether you are captivated by the tragic love story associated with Ikura Cave or mesmerized by the magical lighting in Makido Cave, these natural wonders will leave you in awe of the beauty and mystery that lies beneath the surface. So, grab your car keys and embark on a journey to explore the hidden treasures of Ikura and Makido Caves.
Address And Maps Location:
409 Ikura, Niimi-shi, Okayama-ken