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National Natural Treasure Full of Mystery! “Toori-ike Pond” in Shimoji Island
post : 2014.10.21 12:00
“Toori-ike Pond” in the western coast of Shimoji Island deeply attracts you with its mysterious atmosphere.
The pond with such a unique, irresistible presence is designated as national scenic beauty and national natural treasure.
Two big open mouth holes on the spacious plateau of rugged Ryukyu limestone hold cobalt blue water quietly and solemnly.
Its blue black color makes you feel like being absorbed into the water or even eerie, which might have created some legends including “yunaimata (mermaid) legend” and “stepchild legend.”
The pond by the sea, on the right side of the entrance (Shown in the picture above) is about 75m in a diameter and about 50m deep while the pond on the left (Shown in the picture below) is about 55m in a diameter and about 40m deep.
The two ponds separated by naturally-formed stone bridge are called “Dragon Eye Balls.”
Actually they are connected with each other underwater, and the pond by the sea is connected with sea by underwater cavern. The name “Toori-ike” came from this unique structure of the pond.
This place is famous as a diving spot. Divers make an entry into the sea and float to the pond surface. The distinctive quality of water where the fresh water and sea water mingle and an underwater phenomena called “thermocline” that is caused by the difference of ever-changing temperature present an indescribably mysterious landscape.
The boardwalks are stretched out from between the two ponds for several hundred meters, by which people used to walk as far as the seashore. However, in the typhoon in 2011 the boardwalks got damaged, so now we can go only to the halfway point unfortunately.
How lucky you are! Especially for this occasion, let me show you some of the pictures I took several years ago when the whole board walk had no damage.
They are rare pictures showing sceneries you cannot see face-to-face today.
The following photos shows the landscapes around the Torii-ike Pond before the typhoon in 2011.
What I am missing most around here is a small yet characteristic “the third pond” called “nabezoko (literally means “bottom of the pan”), which comes into your view after a 200m walk from the two ponds.
I am looking forward to reconstructing the boardwalks which used to be stretched out as far as the hill looking over the ocean.
Address: Sawada, Irabu, Miyakojima City
Miyakojima Tourism Sightseeing Association
Okinawa CLIP Photo Writer Kiwamu Ogawa (Qey Word)