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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

Ikura Cave 井倉洞

Vast underground labyrinths and lakes create a subterranean dreamworld

Ikura Cave is a massive karst limestone cave in Okayama Prefecture . Tunnels, stairwells, slippery slopes and stalactites are all lit with mysterious lighting. One reason it's so popular is its association with a tragic story of unrequited love.

Don't Miss

  • Ikura Cave's dark, slippery and cool labyrinth of caverns
  • Unique rock formations and features
  • The subterranean lake at nearby Makido Cave

How to Get There

Ikura Cave is easily accessible by train and bus from Okayama Station.

Take the JR Hakubi Line from Okayama Station to Ikura Station in Niimi City. From there, it's a 10-minute walk from to Ikura Cave. Makido Cave is a 40-minute bus ride from JR Ikura Station. Although you can take the train or bus, it's better to see the caves by car and explore the area.

The corridors and caverns of Ikura Cave

The cave is massive. Its entrance is 240 meters up the limestone cliffs of the mountainside. Its corridors stretch and wind for 1,200 meters and in some places its ceiling is as high as 90 meters. The cave's stalactites and other features are lit to bring out their detail and create a mysterious atmosphere.

Throughout the caverns, signs indicate the names of the various unique rock formations and pools. Inside the cave, there is a 50-meter waterfall and a particularly strange formation known as "Jellyfish Rock."

Summer is a particularly good time to visit the cave because it has a constant cool temperature of 15 degrees Celsius year-round.

As most people visit this rural destination by car, there is plenty of parking available. Near the entrance to the cave are some shops offering souvenirs and cafes featuring local cuisine.

Legend of a love tragedy

About 400 years ago, two lovers, Mosaku and Arisa, lived here. A beautiful princess named Tsuruhime visited and captivated Mosaku, who followed her to the capital. Arisa, who was left behind, killed herself by jumping off a ledge in Ikura Cave.

Village people named the ledge Arisabuchi, and built a shrine to honor Arisa. She is now worshiped as a god of marriage and a guardian angel for lovers.

See the underground lake at nearby Makido Cave

The main reason it's best to visit Ikura Cave by car is that you can then make the quick trip to Makido Cave, another must-see spot nearby.

Makido Cave's brilliant lighting goes even further than that of Ikura Cave, earning it the nickname "Dream Palace." The lighting throughout the 450-meter cave is so impressive and otherworldly that it was used as the setting of a popular mystery film. Additionally, Makido Cave has an underground lake with a red bridge spanning it.

It takes a leisurely 30 minutes to tour the cave, but the walk to its entrance is steep and best suited to an active traveler.

Across from the parking area is a shop that offers a variety of souvenirs, but its claim to fame is bakudan candy, which is 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 around Niimi City, including Ikura and Makido Caves, is known for its stunning landscape of breathtaking cliffs and unusual rock formations. It's a great place to drive around and enjoy the area's natural beauty.