Translated by Takuya Erik Watanabe
The Beautiful Cobalt Blue of Beppu Benten Pond, Yamaguchi
Written by Ai Yoneda
A beautiful transparent cobalt blue pond known only to the locals - wouldn't you love the chance to see such a sight? This is Beppu Benten Pond in Mine city, Yamaguchi prefecture.
In the Chūgoku region there is a beautiful pond, renowned for its transparent cobalt blue color. It is the Beppu Benten Pond (Beppu Benten ike 別府弁天池), located in Mine, a city in Yamaguchi prefecture.
You can reach Beppu Benten Pond by both train and bus, however the number of transportation means is rather scarce, so it might be wiser to rent a car from JR Shin-Yamaguchi station. If you are driving to Benten Pond, you will be able to park at the Mine city parking lot nearby.
The water of the Beppu Benten Pond springs from Akiyoshidai plateau (*1). With a very high degree of transparency, it is one of "Japan's 100 Remarkable Waters." You can clearly see the transparency level of this water even in the rivers flowing from the pond.
There is a water station in the far side of the parking lot, where visitors can take home spring water. Make sure you leave 100 yen as a donation in the jōzaibako (浄財箱), a small box made of wood. The water tastes great, so we recommend taking some home as a souvenir.
*1 Akiyoshidai: The largest karst plateau in Japan, located in Mine city, Yamaguchi. The view of the smooth limestone on the green hill is a fantastic sight.
Trout farming is done next to the pond, making use of the spring water. There is also a shop where you can eat this trout close by.
It is about a 5 minute walk from the parking lot to the pond. As you walk along listening to the sound of the nearby stream, the pond comes into view.
We have reached Benten Pond. You won't believe this vivid blue color is real, and remember that it is completely natural! You will be able to notice the color gradation of the waters when looking from the center of the pond towards the shore.
On sunny days, bubbles from the bottom of the pond are visible as they move toward the surface.
Beppu Benten Pond is located inside a shrine called Beppu Itsukushima Shrine. Tradition has it that long ago, a pioneer was in need of water, and had a dream of worshipping Benzaiten (弁財天, the Buddhist goddess of music, water and wealth). After doing as he was told in the dream, a spring formed.
Benzaiten is therefore enshrined at Beppu Itsukushima Shrine, with the main shrine building located right by the pond.
Surrounded by trees, the silent grounds exude a mystical atmosphere.
Benzaiten is said to have originated from the water goddess of ancient India, Saraswati. A unique point of this goddess is that she is often depicted carrying a biwa, a stringed instrument from eastern Asia that is referred to as "the Japanese lute".
Benzaiten is enshrined in many areas of the shrine. You can even find statues of the goddess inside hollowed tree trunks. We encourage you to try finding them when you visit.
A beautiful scene created by the pure, crystal-clear water. This amazing spot is still little known to tourists. We highly recommend you to stop by if you find yourself in Yamaguchi.
Beppu Benten Pond (Beppu Benten Ike)
Address: Yamaguchi, Mine, Shūhōchō Beppu Mizukami
Credit cards: -
Menus in other languages: -
Nearest station: Ofuku station (於福駅) on the JR Mine Line
Access: Take the Sentetsu Bus (船鉄バス) from Michinoeki Ofuku (道の駅於福) towards Ōta Chuō, get off at Nagareda (流田) and walk 15 minutes.
Price range: -
Phone number: +81-837-62-0305
Official website: Beppu Benten Ike (Japanese)