Without my own wheels in Izu, it’s fair to say that options are a little limited when I want to go off and do some kind of sightseeing by myself. As nice as it is, there’s only so many times one can go to Mount Komuro!! The next nearest sight is probably this lake which is just under half an hours walk away.
Feeling in need of something to do one afternoon in late December I decided to walk the two kilometres or so to the lake. Expectations were very low to be fair but ultimately it turned out to be a lovely afternoon trip amidst the warm Winter sunshine.
This wasn’t my first time as I actually went there early last year but didn’t really take any pictures. Furthermore, on our return from Mount Omuro we were going to stop again at Ippeki-ko but the place had become flooded during the typhoon the night before. The ultimate time to experience this area is during the Autumn leave season but I chose to go and watch a J3 football match in Numazu instead when I had the chance last November!!
The circumference of the lake is four kilometres and it took about 40 minutes to walk what is known as the Lake Ippeki circuit trail on a slightly elevated hiking trail which is certainly not too testing! Walking around it reminded me very much of Senzoku-ike in Ota ward (Tokyo) in terms of its serenity and peacefulness.
Having an island (or two) in the middle of a lake always makes it more aesthetically pleasing and that is a fact! Whilst it was a world apart from the fairytale-like Bled in Slovenia, it was a satisfying enough sight on this occasion. Lake Ippekiko, which has an average diameter of around 600 meters, has a couple of islands including one with a red torii gate. There are another couple of torii gates on the side of the lake including the one belonging to Ippekiko Shrine.
Once upon a time, a monster called “Red Bull” (at a time long before the name became synonymous with the energy drink!) lived in Lake Ippeki and often attacked boats that crossed over his head as they were a nuisance to him. One day a high priest saw the peoples misery and sealed off the Red Bull in exchange for his own life. A red torii gate supposedly stands on the lake to represent this folk tale.
Across the road is the smaller Lake Numaike which is almost entirely covered in marshes. They are both crater lakes resulting from an eruption around 100,000 years ago. I would return with my wife and Momiji to trek round that a couple of weeks later. Those feeling in need of more exercise could of course circle Numaike too or take the trail which continues on for another four kilometres to the picture perfect postcard Mount Omuro.
The Amagi Mountain range can be seen in the background of the lake and reflects in it’s water which was most noticeable as I completed my circuit and finished back at the boat area.
On my way to the lake I noticed an abandoned building (below) which I thought I’d investigate on my return if it was still light.
Haikyo is the Japanese given name for exploring such abandoned ruins and is something I’ve long been interested in but never really done. I was quite surprised to find that it hadn’t been sealed off at all and was freely open so, seeking a bit of adventure, I went in for a quick look around which was quite exciting as, like many haikyo, provides a look into a world which time forgot. My research later told me that this place was a hotel known as Lakeside Ippekiko (レークサイド一碧荘) which originally opened in 1960 and was newly constructed 17 years after that. Sadly, I couldn’t find out when exactly it closed.
The final stop was a Family Mart but this was no normal convenience store as it’s bright green and blue colours were instead black and white (below) which presumably is in order to fit in with the environment or something like that. It’s not as if this store is in the middle of some ancient historical area or whatever but I guess you’ve got to appreciate the effort.
The first half of the walk up to the lake wasn’t so nice really as I had to walk up a winding road which had no path. The only thing of note was this roadside mikan (satsuma) vending machine (below) which is something I’ve never seen before. Anyway, on my return home I noticed there were some steps leading down beside the road near the aforementioned convenience store. There weren’t any signs but I went with it and was rewarded with a far superior nature trail which eventually came out at some quiet backstreets leading on to Route 315 albeit a little further down the road from where I had begun my journey.
Click here to read ‘Dinosaurs + Amazing Drinking Water Fountain (Video) On Mt Komuro’
Click here to read ‘Mount Omuro Is A Picture Postcard Perfect Volcano’
Click here to read ‘Jogasaki Kaigan Coast’