Sightseing in Izu: The Ryugu Sea Cave (竜宮窟) - Vikingess Voyages

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Sightseing in Izu: The Ryugu Sea Cave (竜宮窟)

Entrance to Ryugu Sea Cave by the roadside
In the southern part of Japan's Izu peninsula you can find white beaches and great places for water activities such as snorkeling and surfing. But there are also interesting areas to visit if you prefer activities where you can keep out of the water, such hiking or cave exploring. On my reason trip to Izu we stopped by some beautiful caves, and among them was the Ryugu Sea Cave. Here is some tourist information about the sea caves in the area provided by Shizuoka Prefecture's Shimoda city.
"Submarine volcanic landforms became uplifted in the process of the collision between the Izu block and Honshu across several million years. The landforms exposed due to upliftment then underwent erosion by wave action, and the weaker sections were washed away quickly. This process created sea caves. Subsequently, as the erosion expanded and the cave grew bigger, the roof partially fell off, creating this large open topped cave. From the watch point above the Ryugu Sea Cave, it can clearly be seen how erosion proceeded in two directions. This appears like the shape of a heart, and you can probably imagine how this sea cave looked like in ancient times before erosion brought it to its current shape. You can also enjoy different appearances of the cave depending on the direction of the sunlight or high and low tides."
On the way into the cave 
Here is more information, also taken from Shimoda city's tourist information:
The structures of Ryugu Sea Cave can be observed through a gaping hole, which is about 40 meters in diameter. At the cliff, the strata of subaqueous fallout ash and volcaniclastic flow are observed.

The waves eroded the weak parts of the strata, and formed the cave that divided into two directions. Eventually the cave ceiling became unstable, and collapsed and this skylight was formed."

From inside the cave it is hard to notice anything special about the formation of the cave, but if you take a walk around the outside of the cave you can find a small path that takes you around to the top of the cave. Perhaps you can see a familiar shape in the picture below? The Ryugu Sea Cave is actually famous for its "heart" shape, and is especially popular among couples.
Ryugu Sea Cave is shaped like a heart if you look at it from above

Right next to the Ryugu Sea Cave there is also a small beach where you can try sand skiing:
"Sandback for skiing: A steep (about 30 degree) sandbank with a width of 100 meters, formed and maintained by upward migration of sand particles because of strong winds. You can enjoy skiing on its slope and may be charmed by the beautiful structures of submarine volcanoes around here.

There is a habitat of crinum lilies along the trail to the sandbank. The plants are designated as a natural monument of Shizuoka Prefecture and you can find their blooms during summer to autumn every year."
Slope for sand skiing 
We visited in late November so it wasn't exactly the best temperature to try out sand skiing. Perhaps next time!

Basic information

Name of Place Ryugu Sea Cave (竜宮窟)
Address 〒415-0029 静岡県下田市田牛
Touji, Shimoda, Shizuoka Prefecture 415-0029
Access By car
Parking 10 cars

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About Anette
Anette came to Japan as an exchange student in 2010, met the love of her life and got stuck. From her base in Tokyo she writes about her experiences as a full-time worker in Tokyo and about her travels in Japan and abroad. She's a free-spirited adventurer who enjoys both the great outdoors and her urban lifestyle.

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About Me

Adventures ofAnette

A modern day shield-maiden who loves to explore the unbeaten paths of the world. From her base in Tokyo, Anette takes on both rural and urban challenges, and goes by the motto "No challenge too big, no adventure too small"!
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