The home of Japanese Loch Ness!
Arriving at Lake Ikeda, you’ll be taken aback by the spectacular view of Mount Kaimon and the fragrant flowers, however, something darker lurks beneath its waters…
The mystical Lake Ikeda can be found in Ibusuki, about 40 kilometers south of Kagoshima city in Kagoshima Prefecture and is the inspiration for many stories from ancient Japanese folklore and even has its fair share of paranormal happenings. Lake Ikeda is the largest volcanic lake in Kyushu and has a depth of up to 233 meters that gives the water an intense ocean-blue color. From the shore, you can look out at the lake’s whopping 15 kilometers circumference and see the volcano rise behind it.
Looking for a monster hunt?
Believe it or not, Lake Ikeda has long had a reputation for being otherworldly, edging on magical. Since 1961, there have been sightings of Isshii (also known as Issie-kun), the local legendary lake serpent; a nightmarish giant eel with Plesiosaurus-like flippers. The monstrous eel is said to be over five meters long with razor-sharp teeth. In 1978 a local named Toshiaki Matsuhara snapped a picture that has been recognized by the local tourism board as a real photograph of the monster. There is even a statue depicting Isshie at the lake.
Before all of the monster sightings, Lake Ikeda was more of a religious site. Shinto priests used to consider the lake the origin point of humanity due to its circular shape caused by volcanic activity. People still consider the lake sacred and pray at the local Okudari Shrine today.
On the shore of Lake Ikeda, you will also find long, beautiful flower fields where you can stroll peacefully. Every spring, Japanese tourists flock to see the Ikeda yellow nanohana blossoms in full bloom.
If monster hunting and flower viewing aren’t exciting enough for you why not try something more dynamic like flyboard experience? Travelers can shoot across the lake on top of a surfboard that fires out jets of water, propelling you upwards. It’s hard to hold your balance, but it is an exhilarating experience, as long as you don’t mind getting wet on your first few tries!
After a full day around Lake Ikeda, you can have some relaxing time at the Ibusuki sand baths, just 30 minutes down the road. The local volcano heats up the sand on the beaches, as well as depositing minerals that make it black. Ibusuki locals take advantage of this by burying people into sand baths. The minerals in the sand are said to be therapeutic and being cocooned in warm sand can be quite pleasant, as long as you don’t mind the smell of sulfur.
Lake Ikeda is a great place for a day trip, where you can travel around and experience unique Japanese nature spots.