Lake Ikeda is a caldera lake located in Ibusuki City, Kagoshima Prefecture. With a surface area of 1091 ha and a shoreline length of 15km, it is the largest lake in the Kyushu region. It was formed by the eruption about 5,500 years ago during the Jomon period. The maximum depth amounts to 233 m and a volcanic cone rises at the bottom of the lake, which is one of the few examples in the world.
Lake Ikeda is known to harbour large eels, some 1.8 m in length, 60 cm in body circumference and 20 kg in weight.
Mt. Kaimon, or popularly known as Mt. Fuji of Satsuma, can be closely viewed from the lakeside. Visitors can enjoy boat riding or jogging and hiking around the lake. From January through the end of February, the lakeside is covered with rape blossoms.
Ibusuki Shrine is located in Higashikata, Ibusuki City, Kagoshima Prefecture. The enshrined deity is OOhirumemuchi-no-mikoto.
According to the shrine’s record, the shrine’s history dates back to 706 when a shrine was built to honor the visit of Emperor Tenchi and was named Katsuragi Palace.
In 874, due to the great eruption of Mt. Kaimondake, the spirit of the shrine was transferred to Hirasaki Shrine and was renamed Montake-shinguu or Montake New Palace. It was after the Meiji Restoration that the palace received its current name, Ibusuki Shrine.
The shrine has been worshiped as the general shrine deity of Yabusuki area, primary deity of local reclamation and guardian deity of sailing and business prosperity.
The main building seen today was built by Shimazu Narioki in 1847.
In the precinct stand eight gigantic camphor trees which are estimated to be over 700 years old. The whole area is known as Ibusuki’ god forest and designated as a natural monument by Kagoshima Prefecture.
Ibusuki Shrine is the historical shrine that had been deeply venerated by the successive heads of the Satsuma Clan.
Hanasaki Lighthouse Kurumaishi (wheel stone) down the path from Hanasaki Lighthouse at the tip of Cape Hanasaki is one of a few of its kind in the world. This unique stone, 6 m in diameter, is a nationally designated Natural Monument. With radial joints in concentric circle, it really looks like a wheel as its name shows.
Besides this huge stone, there are some other wheel stones, 1 to 3 m in diameter, can be found in this area. The radial joints on a wheel stone were created when hot lava was cooled in the sea water in a short time. Amazingly, wheel stones were created as long as 6,000 years ago, when dinosaurs became extinct. Hanasaki Lighthouse Kurumaishi is the symbol of the cape that tells us the memory of mother earth.
Pahoehoe is basaltic lava that has a smooth, undulating, or ropy surface. As basalt contains relatively less silicon dioxide, basaltic lava behaves more like a plastic substance than a liquid substance. As lava continues to flow underneath this plastic skin, the surface can bunch up or wrinkle into a form that resembles coiled rope. Such a surface is called ropy pahoehoe.
There is a belt of dark gray ropy pahoehoe cropping out along the coast from Hanaze to Tazaki Beach in Kaimon Town in Ibusuki City, Kagoshima Prefecture. It is one of the few examples of ropy pahoehoe found in Japan. This lave belt was formed when Mt. Kaimon erupted in about 500 B.C. The trace of lava that erupted out of the crater of Mt. Kaimon and flew toward the offing can be clearly seen. As the precious natural phenomenon, from which we can learn about volcanic and geological activities of the earth, it is prefecturally designated as a natural monument.
Mt. Kaimondake (924 m) is located in Ibusuki City in the southernmost part of Kagoshima Prefecture. It is counted as one of Japan’s 100 Fine Mountains. From its fine conical shape, it is called Satsuma Fuji.
Mt. Kaimondake erupted in 874 and 885, by which the lava dome was formed in the crater and it became a two-staged complex volcano. The walking trail winds up to the mountain top.
At the top of the mountain is Mitake Shrine, the back shrine of Hirasaki Shrine at the foot. Mt. Kaimondake itself is the sacred body of this shrine. From the mountain top, you can command a magnificent view from the Kirishima mountain range in the north to Yakushima Island in the south including major sightseeing spots in the prefecture.
In the areas at the foot of the mountain, rape flowers bloom in spring, leaves of the evergreen forest cover the whole mountain in early summer and Chinese tallow trees (Sapium sebiferum) turn red in fall.
Subtropical and tropical plants can be seen in the botanical garden in Kaimon Submontane Natural Park located around the 2nd station of the mountain. At the foot of the mountain area many hot spring towns.
Mt. Kirishima is a generic name for the volcanoes in the border of Kirishima City in Kagoshima Prefecture and Ebino City and Kobayashi City in Miyazaki Prefecture. It is selected as one of Japan’s 100 Fine Mountains. It is presumed to be a post-caldera volcano formed in the southern rim of Kakuto caldera basin.
Mt. Kirishima is composed of many peaks including the highest peak of Karakuni-dake (1,700 m), Takachiho-no-mine, Naka-dake, Ohata-yama, and Ohachi. There are a lot of crater lakes such as Onami-ike, Ohata-ike, and Rokukannon-ike. The mountain area is a part of Kirishima- Yaku National Park. The communities of Kyushu azalea can be seen in the highlands.
Mt. Kirishima is the land of Japanese mythology concerning its creation. “Amano Sakahoko,” the three teeth fork-shaped weapon is staked upside down at the top of Mt. Takachiho-no-mine, which is believed to be where the Heavenly Descendant Ninigi no Mikoto descended from Takamagahara Field (Heavenly Hill Field).
Takachiho-gawara in the Kirishima mountain range (Kirishima City, Kagoshima Prefecture) is where Kirishima Jungu Shrine used to be located. It was originally built between Mt. Takachiho-no-mine and Mt. Ohachi but was destroyed by a volcanic eruption about 1,400 years ago and rebuilt at this place. However, it was again burnt down by the second eruption about 1,000 years ago and relocated to the town at the foot of the mountain. Presently only the remains have been preserved.
Located near the western starting point for climbing Mt. Takachiho-no-mine, the site is surrounded with the forest of red pine and the communities of Kyushu azalea. Seen from this point, Mt. Takachiho-no-mine protrudes into the sky, making a sharp angle. Its exquisite appearance deserves the name of “Holy Mountain.”
The summit of Mt. Takachiho-no-mine is believed to be where the Heavenly Descendant Ninigi no Mikoto descended from Takamagahara Field (Heavenly Hill Field). On November 11th every year, “the Fire of the Gods” festival is held here to commemorate Ninigi no Mikoto.
Mt. Akagi-yama, one of the Jomo Three Mountains and Japan’s 100 Fine Mountains, located in the center of Gunma Prefecture, is the generic name for mountains including Kurobi-san, Komagatake, Jizo-dake Choshichiro-yama, and Nabewari-yama.
It is a double-rimmed caldera volcano. There are three beautiful lakes near the mountaintop; Lake O-numa (an atrio lake), Ko-numa (a crater lake) and Kakuman-fuchi (a high moor).
The north wind known as “Karakkaze,” which is characteristic to the Kanto Plain in winter, is also called “Akagi Oroshi,” because it blows from Mt. Akagi-yama.
Mt. Akagi-yama has been worshipped by local people since the ancient times. It is a symbol of Gunma Prefecture.