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Regions of Japan

Hokkaido Tohoku Hokuriku
Shinetsu
Kanto Tokai Kansai Chugoku Shikoku Kyushu Okinawa Islands SAPPORO TOKYO NAGOYA OSAKA FUKUOKA FURANO KUSHIRO AOMORI SENDAI FUKUSHIMA NIKKO HAKONE SADO TAKAYAMA KANAZAWA ISE KYOTO NARA HIROSHIMA NAGASAKI KAGOSHIMA NAHA
Hokkaido
Hokkaido
  • Hokkaido
Japan's great white north offers wild, white winters and bountiful summers—a haven for dedicated foodies, nature lovers and outdoor adventure fans seeking an adrenaline rush Japan's great white north offers wild, white winters and bountiful summers—a haven for dedicated foodies, nature lovers and outdoor adventure fans seeking an adrenaline rush
Tohoku
Tohoku
  • Aomori
  • Akita
  • Iwate
  • Yamagata
  • Miyagi
  • Fukushima
Fearsome festivals, fresh powder snow and vast fruit orchards—the rugged territory of Tohoku offers a new perspective on travel in Japan Fearsome festivals, fresh powder snow and vast fruit orchards—the rugged territory of Tohoku offers a new perspective on travel in Japan
Hokuriku Shinetsu
Hokuriku Shinetsu
  • Niigata
  • Toyama
  • Ishikawa
  • Fukui
  • Nagano
An easily accessible slice of rural Japan offering unrivaled mountainscapes and coastlines, endless outdoor adventure and amazing ocean fare An easily accessible slice of rural Japan offering unrivaled mountainscapes and coastlines, endless outdoor adventure and amazing ocean fare
Kanto
Kanto
  • Tokyo
  • Kanagawa
  • Chiba
  • Saitama
  • Ibaraki
  • Tochigi
  • Gunma
Jump from the neon glow of Tokyo to Gunma's mountain retreats, Kamakura's cultural heritage and the Ogasawara Islands' exotic wildlife Jump from the neon glow of Tokyo to Gunma's mountain retreats, Kamakura's cultural heritage and the Ogasawara Islands' exotic wildlife
Tokai
Tokai
  • Yamanashi
  • Shizuoka
  • Gifu
  • Aichi
  • Mie
Hallmark attractions such as Mt. Fuji and Takayama coexist with major cities and famous heritage in the center of Japan Hallmark attractions such as Mt. Fuji and Takayama coexist with major cities and famous heritage in the center of Japan
Kansai
Kansai
  • Kyoto
  • Osaka
  • Shiga
  • Hyogo
  • Nara
  • Wakayama
The Kansai region is one of contrasts, from the glittering lights of Osaka and Kobe to the cultural treasures of Kyoto and Nara The Kansai region is one of contrasts, from the glittering lights of Osaka and Kobe to the cultural treasures of Kyoto and Nara
Chugoku
Chugoku
  • Tottori
  • Shimane
  • Okayama
  • Hiroshima
  • Yamaguchi
Welcome to Japan's less-explored western frontier, where the weather is warmer and the pace of life is slower Welcome to Japan's less-explored western frontier, where the weather is warmer and the pace of life is slower
Shikoku
Shikoku
  • Tokushima
  • Kagawa
  • Ehime
  • Kochi
Island-hopping, cycling, soul-warming spiritual strolling and red-hot dancing—the island of Shikoku gets you up and moving Island-hopping, cycling, soul-warming spiritual strolling and red-hot dancing—the island of Shikoku gets you up and moving
Kyushu
Kyushu
  • Fukuoka
  • Saga
  • Nagasaki
  • Oita
  • Kumamoto
  • Miyazaki
  • Kagoshima
The southern island of Kyushu is home to hot springs, rugged geography, undeveloped beaches and volcanoes ranging from sleepy to smoky The southern island of Kyushu is home to hot springs, rugged geography, undeveloped beaches and volcanoes ranging from sleepy to smoky
Okinawa
Okinawa
  • Okinawa
Fly to Okinawa and discover a distinct island culture born of subtropical sun, white sand, coral, mangrove jungles and the age of the Ryukyu Kings Fly to Okinawa and discover a distinct island culture born of subtropical sun, white sand, coral, mangrove jungles and the age of the Ryukyu Kings

Nature

Ryusendo Cave 龍泉洞

A vast limestone cave system and natural treasure

Located in Iwaizumi in eastern Iwate Prefecture, Ryusen-do Cave is one of Japan's largest limestone caverns. Featuring a string of vivid blue and emerald green underground lakes, it's a must-see for those traveling in Iwate.

Don't Miss

  • The magnificent blue hues of the underground springs
  • Extraordinary natural rock formations

How to Get There

Ryusen-do Cave is just outside the town of Iwaizumi and is accessible by bus from JR Morioka Station.

Ryusen-do Cave is in a remote part of Iwate that's not easy to access by public transportation. The best way to get there is to take the direct JR Tohoku Bus from JR Morioka Station. Buses typically take about two hours and 15 minutes, and are covered by the Japan Rail Pass. If you are visiting Ryusen-do as a day trip, the last buses leave early, so be sure to confirm the schedule.

Quick Facts

The cave's 120-meter deep underground lake is Japan's deepest

Only about 3,000 of the cave's estimated 5,000-meter length has been explored

Descend into the mystical blue

Inside Ryusen-do there are four fresh water lakes, and three of them are open to the public for viewing. The deepest of these is 98 meters. The lakes are illuminated, making the water appear a vivid and ethereal blue, allowing you to see all the way to the bottom. Gazing into the abyss of the deepest is like peering into another world.

Amazing geological formations

The stalactites and stalagmites that have formed throughout the cave over the eons add to its mystique, and you'll encounter extraordinary formations around every corner. One that stands out is a stalagmite that looks strikingly similar to Jizo, the Buddhist protector of children and travelers. These rock formations are very fragile, so touching them is strictly prohibited.

Rare bat sightings in Ryusen-do Cave

A number of species of bat inhabit Ryusen-do, some of which are very rare. Usually the bats are inactive during the day, but 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 makes a memorable story to tell about your trip.

Pristine water from spring to bottle

As you enter Ryusen-do, you can hear fresh spring water rushing out of the cave. Much of this is bottled and sold. Ryusendo's pristine and delicious water is filled with minerals, making it especially healthy. The lucky local population gets to drink it for free from the tap. If you'd like to take a draught of Ryusen-do to go, its bottled spring water is a popular souvenir.

Beating the summer heat

Far underground, Ryusen-do provides a naturally air-conditioned adventure during the sweltering Japanese summer. In fact, the temperature of the cave doesn't vary much year-round, making it quite comfortable in the winter as well.

Things to do near Ryusen-do Cave

After returning to the surface, you can walk across the street to Ryusen-shindo, a less expansive cave which houses a small science museum with displays on cavern geology and information on the area. It typically takes between one and two hours to see both caves.

After you've finished your underground exploration, you can head up to the spectacular Kitayamazaki Coast, or down to Miyako's stunning Jodogahama Beach.

You can also stay in Iwaizumi and climb Mount Ureira. This takes about half a day. The climb is easy and suitable for those of average fitness and the views are amazing.

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