Delve Deep into the Earth in Iwaizumi
Go spelunking to admire Mother Nature's beauty at this huge cave system in Iwate
For a truly special trip to Japan, consider visiting the Tohoku region of northeastern Honshu. Tohoku remains off the main tourist path, so many hidden gems of food, nature, and culture are just waiting to be discovered.
Just outside of the town of Iwaizumi, tucked away along the Shimizu River, is the Ryusendo cave system, one of Japan’s three greatest limestone caves. Of it, 700 meters are open to the public, but some 4.1 kilometers have been explored, with some believing that the cave extends to well over five kilometers in length. As one of Japan's most unique geological wonders, it’s been officially designated as one of the nation’s special natural monument.
Made primarily of limestone, the caverns are home to a colony of bats. The cave is considered active, so prepare for dripping water from time to time. Marvel at three pristine subterranean lakes (there are actually five more, but in areas that are unsafe to visit) said to be among the clearest in the world.
With all that water, the cave is prone to flooding, but don't worry: visitors' safety is the first priority, so the cave will be closed if there’s any possible danger.
Access: From Tokyo Station, take the Tohoku Shinkansen bullet train to Morioka Station (about 2 hours and 10 minutes); at Morioka Station, take the JR Bus Line to the Ryusendo-mae stop (about 2 hours and 14 minutes).
1-1 Aza Kannari, Iwaizumi, Iwaizumi-cho, Shimohei-gun, Iwate-ken
|Approx. 1 hour