Sawada Irabu, Miyakojima, Okinawa 906-0507.
Shimoji Island in the Miyako Islands. At the airport.
|Dimension:||L=70 m, W=50 m.|
|Guided tours:||self guided|
|Address:||Toriike Pond, Sawada Irabu, Miyakojima, Okinawa 〒906-0507|
|As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
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通り池 or とおりいけ (Toriike Pond) are two huge dolines with vertical walls which are connected by a cave to the sea. The underwater cave is quite popular among scuba divers. The ponds are 70 m long and 50 m wide each, the water inside has the same level as the nearby sea, about 12 m deeper. One is 45 m deep, the other 25 m.
Although the site is called Toriike Pond in singular, there are actually two waterfilled sinkholes very close together. Between them runs the walking trail and there is a platform and benches overlooking the dolines. According to legend these are dragon eyes, and this is the place where all dragons of the world are born.
It is reached on a coastal road which runs between the airport and the coast. A turnoff leads to a parking lot with souvenir shops and a public bath, at least that's how it is called. It seems to be toilet and a possibility to change into bathing gear for the beach. There are trails to the surrounding beaches and to the sinkholes. The trail to the sinkholes is first paved, followed by an elevated wooden trail with railings. The site is designated as a natural monument of the prefecture.
There are numerous karst related diving sites in the area. Satan’s Palace is a huge cavern at a depth of 27 m and requires advanced skills to navigate narrow tunnels and arches. Antoni Gaudi is a series of caverns and arches 33 m below the surface, which was named because it resembles the works by legendary Spanish architect Antoni Gaudí. All of those sites require care and advanced diving skills, they might be dangerous, especially during times of higher currents. The Toriike Pond has sweetwater on the surface and saltwater at the bottom, so divers go ther to see the halocline, the border between sweet and salt water. It looks like the surface of a lake under water, and sometimes produces a multicolored, shimmering effect in the water.