A vast limestone cave system and natural treasure
Ryusendo Cave, located in Iwaizumi in eastern Iwate Prefecture, is one of japan‘s largest limestone caverns. This magnificent cave system is a natural treasure that attracts visitors from all over the world. With its string of vivid blue and emerald green underground lakes, Ryusendo Cave is truly a sight to behold.
As you descend into the mystical blue depths of Ryusendo Cave, you will be greeted by a series of fresh water lakes. Out of the eight lakes in the cave, three are open to the public for viewing. The deepest lake, reaching a depth of 98 meters, is a mesmerizing sight. The lakes are illuminated, creating a surreal atmosphere and making the water appear even more vibrant. The vivid blue hues of the underground springs are truly extraordinary.
One of the most captivating aspects of Ryusendo Cave is its amazing geological formations. Over the eons, stalactites and stalagmites have formed throughout the cave, adding to its mystique. As you explore the cave, you will encounter extraordinary rock formations around every corner. One particularly striking formation resembles Jizo, the Buddhist protector of children and travelers. These formations are delicate and fragile, so touching them is strictly prohibited.
Aside from its geological wonders, Ryusendo Cave is also home to a variety of bat species. Some of these bats are very rare, making sightings of them a special experience. While the bats are usually inactive during the day, they occasionally make an appearance early in the morning or late in the afternoon. It’s quite a surprise when a bat zips overhead, but it adds to the unique and memorable experience of visiting Ryusendo Cave.
Another fascinating feature of Ryusendo Cave is its pristine spring water. As you enter the cave, you can hear the sound of fresh spring water rushing out. Much of this water is bottled and sold, and it is known for its purity and delicious taste. The water from Ryusendo Cave is filled with minerals, making it especially healthy. The local population is lucky enough to have access to this water for free from the tap. If you want to take a piece of Ryusendo Cave with you, the bottled spring water is a popular souvenir.
Not only is Ryusendo Cave a natural wonder, but it also provides a respite from the summer heat. The cave’s underground environment offers natural air conditioning, making it a cool escape during the sweltering summer months. The temperature inside the cave remains relatively constant throughout the year, making it a comfortable destination even in the winter.
Getting to Ryusendo Cave can be a bit challenging, as it is located in a remote part of Iwate that is not well served by public transportation. However, the best way to reach the cave is by taking the direct JR Tohoku Bus from Morioka Station. The bus journey takes approximately two hours and 15 minutes. If you are planning a day trip to Ryusendo Cave, it is important to check the bus schedule, as the last buses leave early in the day.
Once you have finished exploring the depths of Ryusendo Cave, there are plenty of other attractions in the surrounding area to discover. Just across the street from the cave is Ryusen Shindo, a smaller cave that houses a science museum. The museum offers displays on cavern geology and provides information about the area. It usually takes about an hour to visit both Ryusendo Cave and Ryusen Shindo.
If you’re looking to continue your adventure after leaving the caves, you can head to the nearby Kitayamazaki Coast or Jodogahama Beach in Miyako. The Kitayamazaki Coast offers breathtaking views of the rugged cliffs and the sparkling sea. Jodogahama Beach, on the other hand, is known for its pristine white sand and crystal-clear waters. Both destinations provide a stunning contrast to the underground world of Ryusendo Cave.
For those who want to stay in the area, Iwaizumi offers the opportunity to climb Mt. Ureira. This half-day hike provides panoramic views of the surrounding landscape and is suitable for people of average fitness. The climb is relatively easy and rewards hikers with breathtaking vistas.
In conclusion, Ryusendo Cave is a natural wonder that should not be missed. Its vast limestone caverns, vivid blue and green underground lakes, and extraordinary geological formations make it a must-see attraction in Iwate Prefecture. Whether you’re interested in exploring the depths of the cave, marveling at its unique rock formations, or simply enjoying the cool underground environment, Ryusendo Cave offers an unforgettable experience. So, make sure to include it in your itinerary when visiting Iwate.
Address And Maps Location:
1-1 Aza Kannari, Iwaizumi-cho, Shimohei-gun, Iwate-ken