Ryusendo is one of Japan’s three greatest limestone caves along with Akiyoshido in Yamaguchi and Ryugado in Kochi. The cave and its residents, a number of rare species of bats, are designated a national natural monument. While exploring the high narrow vaulted path of “Hyakken Roka” (long corridor) and the slightly wider space known as “Gekkyuden” (moon palace), visitors can observe the many spectacular stalactites of the cave. The cave’s highlights are the mystically illuminated underground lakes with their uniquely-coloured water known as Dragon Blue. There are several viewing locations along the path and visitors can enjoy viewing the amazingly clear blue water from both close to the surface and high above. The cave is also a popular location for lovers thanks to its heart-shaped tunnel entrance and matching wooden-dragon statue, a famous photo stop! Visitors can sample the clear cave water for themselves from the drinking fountain at the entrance, recognised as one of Japan’s 100 clearest waters.
The interior of the cave stays a cool 10 degrees Celsius throughout the year. Be sure to bring a jacket even in summer (jacket rentals are also available) and wear comfortable walking shoes.
The nearby Ryusendo Tourist Centre offers local products and a variety of dishes made with local produce. There is a rest area on the upper floor where visitors can see photos and videos of Ryusendo Cave while enjoying a free cup of tea or water.
The Ryusenshindo Science Museum, the world’s first museum built into a cave, is located just across the Shimizu River.