A cave town with beautiful landscapes / Iwaizumi Iwate
Iwaizumi town is well known for its clear spring and caves across the town, including Ryusendo cave and Akka cave. 93% of the land is covered by forests and mountains, the white birches` forest and Hayasaka highland offers beautiful landscapes.
Iwaizumi town, total area of 992.9km², making it the largest town in mainland Japan, is in the Kitakami Mountains of northeast Iwate prefecture, east of the prefectural capital of Morioka. It has a small coastline on the Pacific Ocean to the east, known as Sanriku rias.
It is characterized with mild summers and cold winters.
A 15-minute drive, you reach at Mitakaibunko (Mitakai branch school) roadside station, it used to be a local elementary school. After the school was closed, this space becomes a roadside station that keeps its original style. They sell local products and run a cafeteria.
30-minute drive from Mitakaibunko, you reach at Ryusendo Cave, one of the three greatest limestone caves in Japan, well known for its transparent underground lakes and beautiful limestones. There are five types of bats living inside the cave as well.
The cave opens all seasons and the best season to see bats and underground lakes is in winter. You can see bats hibernate in their favorite spots in the cave, and the underground lakes are in its best conditions.
20 minutes` drive from Ryusendo, you can check out the longest limestone cave in Japan, Akka cave, with 23.7km long. The normal tourist course is 500 meters and adventure course is available by reservation.
On the way heading to the Sanriku rias, you can have a small break in roadside station Iwaizumi. You can try out the Japanese shorthorn, Iwaizumi yogurt and other local specialties.
After reaching the coastal line in Omoto Iwaizumi, you can have a relaxing break with views of the Sanriku rias sceneries. One of the iconic spots knowns as Kuma no hana (Nose of a bear), which was formed after a major volcanic activity during the Mesozoic period.
Around that area, you can also find the spot where the first dinosaurs` fossil was discovered in Japan. The replica of the fossil is in display in the Omoto station.
Omoto Iwaizumi was hit by Tsunami and Typhoon Lionrock, you can also make an appointment with local guide and hear about the aftermath of disaster and current revival.
A smooth drive with beautiful landscapes and mysterious caves to visit. Talking to the local people, you will find more beauties of this town.