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In Iwate, there is a gigantic limestone cave called Ryusendo, measuring approx. 249-meter high and 3,600-meter long, as far as we know now. It is registered as one of "Japan's three great limestone caves" after Akiyoshido in Yamaguchi and Ryugado in Kochi. The water spring from the underground lake of Ryusendo is the one of the most transparent in the world. Because of its good quality water, it is listed as the one of the "100 exquisite waters" in Japan in 1985. That's how clean the water is. On top of that, there is a spot inside the cave, where you can see the rocks naturally shaped as hearts. People call it "heart spot" which is recognized as a "Lover's Sanctuary" in 2014. Since then, many couples visit here.
- 1-1 Aza Kannari, Iwaizumi, Iwaizumi-cho, Shimohei-gun, Iwate
- Contact No.
- 2 h 12 min by JR Tohoku Iwaizumi Ryusendo Line bus in the direction of Ryosendo-mae from Morioka Station on the JR Line
- Opening Hours / Holidays
- 8:30-17:00 (Open until 18:00 between May to September)
Open all year round
- Official Website
- Time Required
- 60 min
- Admission fee
- Adults (over 15 years old) 1,000 yen, Elementary and junior high school students 500 yen
※ Some information is displayed in Japanese and machine-translated English, which may not be accurate.
For the latest information, please check the official website for each spot.
In the middle of the cave, there is a place called Gekkyuden, which is illuminated by five colors of LED lights, creating a chimerical atmosphere. In Gekkyuden, there is a spot where the rock looks heart-shaped when you look back toward the path. This is a popular spot among couples.
In Ryusendo, you can see three underground lakes. The first 35-meter-deep underground lake has an observatory deck on top of it. From there, you can see the lake and the ceiling made of limestone. The second underground lake is the largest one. The third lake is 98-meter deep. Yet the water is so clear that you can almost see the bottom of the lake.
Hyakken Roka was created by an extended break in the rock. "Hyakken" is an old Japanese measurement, designating approx. 180 meter. There is a legend that this path is created by a "dragon who went through the wall and created a narrow path." It is a great place to observe limestone at a close distance.
Fountain of Youth
The Fountain of Youth is located where the most transparent water flows in the cave. It is thus named because there is a legend that you will live three years longer if you drink the water here. In Ryusendo, mineral water and soda made of the water from the cave are available.
Ryusen Shindo Science Museum
In 1967, the cave Ryusen Shindo was discovered on the opposite side of the river from Ryusendo. It was supposedly linked with Ryusendo before. Ryusen Shindo is now the first museum in the world created inside a natural cave. It is called Ryusen Shindo Science Museum. Inside the museum, you can see rare materials including stone pillars that are still measured today, and traces of how primitives lived.