Monday, November 29, 2010

Ryusendo Cave

On October 10th, hubby and I visited Ryusendo Cave in Iwate prefecture. As I wrote in the previous post, in the morning we visited Marient Museum in Aomori prefecture. At about 10.30 am, we left the museum and drove up to the cave. The cave is located about 110 kilometers south-east of the museum and it took us almost 3.5 hours to reach there by our car.

Ryusendo Cave is located at the eastern foot of Mount Ureira in the center of Iwaizumi town in Iwate prefecture. Ryusendo Cave is one of the three largest stalactite caves in Japan along with Akiyoshido Cave in Yamaguchi prefecture and Ryugado Cave in Kochi prefecture. This cave is made up of a main cave leading to the ridge and many branch caves crossing the main cave. At present, the length of the cave is known to be over 3100 meters and 700 meters of it is open to the public. The cave is still being explored and the entire length is estimated to be over 5000 meters. The cave has many beautiful stalactites formed by abundant streams. A number of deep underground pools have been created from the fresh water gushing out from within the cave and four have been confirmed so far. Only the first three pools are open to the public. Pool number 4, which is not open to the public, is 120 meters deep and is the deepest cave pool in Japan. These underground pools have an emerald green glow and have the clearest water of any caves in the world. The transparency of the water of these pools is over 41.5 meters, which is the world record. This cave is also famous for five kinds of bats such as Japanese long-eared bat and Japanese tube-nosed bat. This cave, including the bats dwelling inside, has been designated as a national natural treasure.

We reached Ryusendo Cave at about 2.30 pm. Hubby was tired of driving for almost four hours. So after parking our car, we bought softcream from a nearby shop and had them while walking towards the cave. We bought tickets worth 1000 Yen per person as admission fee for the cave and entered inside the cave.
Hubby having softcream

I am standing in front of Ryusendo Cave premises

Hubby standing near a statue of dragon near Ryusendo Cave

I am standing on a small bridge over a flowing stream near the cave

Hubby standing in front of the entrance of the cave

After walking inside Ryusendo Cave for a few minutes, we saw a small pool named chomei no fuchi. The emerald green color of the water was really wonderful. The temperature inside the cave was 11 degrees centigrade and quite chilly. Next, we walked through a very narrow area of the cave named hyakukan roka. Although it was rather narrow at some places inside the cave but the interior has been built very well for the visitors. A number of platforms and staircases are built in the cave so that our walking course seemed very simple. Soon we came across a small waterfall named tamahibiki no taki. The sound of gushing water from springs flowing through the twisting passages filled the cave. There were a few more small pools and waterfalls along this stretch of the cave.
Hubby walking inside the cave

Chomei no fuchi

Walls of the cave at hyakukan roka area

Hubby walking at hyakukan roka area

Tamahibiki no taki

Clear water flowing inside the cave

I am enjoying a flowing water stream

Emerald green water of a small pool

We walked up a few staircases and saw a soundless waterfall named otonashi no taki. Next, after walking a few more steps we reached a place named gekkyu-den. There was wonderful lighting arrangement inside the cave which was nice but at the same time gave an eerie feeling to the cave. While walking at gekkyu-den area, we saw a few beautiful stalagmite formations on the cave wall. It was wonderful to walk at gekkyu-den area of the cave.
I am about to climb up a steep area

I am standing near otonashi no taki waterfall. There was water on the cave floor that made walking a bit difficult.

Hubby walking at gekkyu-den area

I am standing near a stalagmite formation

I am standing near another stalagmite formation

Hubby feeling the stalagmite rock formation

Gekkyu-den area

Gekkyu-den area

Next, we saw Pool number 1 of the cave which is 35 meters deep. The emerald green color of the water was very pleasing to the eyes. There were lights suspended in the water that further enhanced the glow of water. We spend a lot of time near this pool and enjoyed the beauty of nature.
Pool number 1

Another view of Pool number 1

I am enjoying the emerald green water of the pool

We walked for a few minutes inside the cave and reached Pool number 2. This pool is 38 meters deep and equally wonderful as the first one.
Hubby walking inside the cave

Pool number 2

Emerald green water of the pool

Another view of the pool

We walked a few more minutes and saw Pool number 3 which is 98 meters deep. The water of all the pools is unpolluted and startlingly clear. We loved viewing these emerald green pools deep inside the cave, which was so beautiful and exquisite. In fact, these underground pools were the highlight of our visit to Ryusendo Cave.
Hubby enjoying Pool number 3

Pool number 3

Another view of Pool number 3

View of Pool number 3 from the staircase

I compiled a video of our walk through the cave up to this point. It is really awesome to listen to the sound of flowing water inside the cave.

A compiled video of our walk inside the cave

Next, we climbed a lot of staircases that took us way up into the upper open areas of the cave. It allowed us to observe various kinds of rock formations inside the cave with remarkable clarity. The stalactites, stalagmites, and various other rock formations create an atmosphere of mystery and beauty inside the cave. From way up, we could also look down into Pool number 1 that showed the emerald green water quiet clearly.
Hubby enjoying the rock formations inside the cave

Rock formations inside the cave

I am standing near beautiful rock formations

Rock formations inside the cave

View of Pool number 1 from the upper area of the cave

Stalactite formations inside the cave

Hubby and I along with stalactite formations in the background

A stalagmite formation

Rock formations inside the cave

Rock formations inside the cave

Rock formations inside the cave

Our tour of the cave was over at this point, and so we started walking back towards the cave entrance which is also used as an exit. On our way back, I took a few photos of hubby walking through various portions of the cave.
Hubby walking inside the cave

Hubby walking inside the cave

Hubby walking inside the cave

Hubby walking at hyakukan roka area

Hubby almost reached back the entrance of the cave

We loved viewing the emerald green water of the deep pools as well as the innumerable stalactites and other rock formations inside Ryusendo Cave. The greatness of nature felt like a world of magic.


Arpana said...

Good snaps aptly documented!

Manisha Kundu-Nagata said...

Thanks for your comment Arpana. Hope you enjoyed the virtual trip to the cave.