Japan, Kagoshima, Kyushu

Lake Ikeda: Home of Japanese Loch Ness

Image: Issie-kun by charmatar @ Instagram

We have introduced various places of Kagoshima that you could visit on our Facebook live, but this is a spot that we have yet to introduce – Lake Ikeda.
We know that Kagoshima City is serene and has lots of great places to see with a volcanic view, and we also know how Ibusuki is great with the hot sand baths, and also the fact that Ibusuki no Tamatebako connects both of these cities. Lake Ikeda is located right between these two places as Kyushu’s biggest volcanic lake with a whopping circumference of 15km! 

Not to mention, this almost-circular lake is a caldera lake formed over 6,000 years ago, and since there are no rivers flowing in or out of the lake, it is entirely dependent on rainfall to maintain its water level.

Image: Lake Ikeda and Mt. Kaimon

There’s a reason why Lake Ikeda is also the Loch Ness of Japan, so here’s a little story time!

Legend says that, the mare Issie, or in Japanese, read as “Isshi” lived with her foal near Lake Ikeda in Kagoshima. One day, a samurai kidnapped the foal, the worried Issie looked everywhere for her child, but the child was nowhere to be found. Out of desperation, Issie threw herself into Lake Ikeda, and her sadness consumed her and turned her into a sea monster that sometimes surfaces to look for her missing child.

This story started in the 1978, where there were nearly about 20 people who went to a ceremony and saw a black creature. The creature has 2 bumps moving on the surface of the lake, and later in the same year, another person took a picture of a strange shape in the water, right at Lake Ikeda!

Image: Issie-kun near Lake Ikeda

Hence, the local tourist office took this opportunity to make Lake Ikeda a tourist attraction – building statues to depict Issie, and giving it the nickname of Issie-kun. The name was given by analogy with Nessie, the monster of Loch Ness in the Scottish folklore. Now, Issie-kun is a local mascot that we can purchase as a souvenir.

Actually, Lake Ikeda is famous for its large eels that grows up to two meters too! 

Image: Nanohana with Mt. Kaimon by Tanaka Juuyoh

Also, you can visit the Lake Ikeda between December to February, as this is when yellow rape plants (called nanohana in Japanese) will bloom along the lakeshore! 

Whether you are interested for the story, for their eels or nature scenery, consider dropping by Lake Ikeda of Kagoshima!

See you there!

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