Ikeda, a nine-time winner in Japan, opened up a two-shot lead over veteran golfer Hiroyuki Fujita, a two-time Asian Tour winner, Yusaku Miyazato, who finished tied 20th at the Asian Tour Qualifying School in January, Katsumasa Miyamoto, Koumei Oda and Kazuhiro Yamashita at the Higashi Hirono Golf Club.
Reigning Asian Tour Order of Merit winner Juvic Pagunsan of the Philippines, Jeev Milkha Singh of India, a two-time number one in Asia, and Thailand's Chinnarat Phadungsil carded matching 67s for 11th place at the 150 million Yen (approximately US$1.9 million) event sanctioned by the Asian Tour and Japan Golf Tour.
Ikeda, who finished tied sixth at the ISPS Handa Singapore Classic on the Asian Tour in April, played bridesmaid in the last three weeks in Japan but he is fired-up to win his first title this season.
"I will give myself 80 or 90 points for my round. I was really close in the last three weeks but I'm still proud with what I achieved. I started off very well and the momentum started to build. Everything went smoothly so I guess that's why I have no bogeys," said Ikeda.
"I did have some up and downs with my shots but when I got in trouble, I recovered very well. I guess that's the key to my good score," added the 26-year-old.
At the age of 46, Fujita is showing no signs of slowing down. He has won three titles on home soil this season, including one last week, and is on track for a fourth victory after riding on a hot putter where he was bogey-free.
"This is the best I've putted this year. This is a difficult golf course but I was expecting to do well. I won't say that I can win my fourth title yet because it is only the first day but I believe I have a good chance of shooting a lower score and give myself a chance," said Fujita.
Despite playing with an injured finger, Singh was inspired by the presence of his father, a former Olympic sprinter and his wife, who cheered him on for 18 holes.
"They walked with me and that was nice. They will be with me for five weeks. They walked full 18 and I'm impressed with my father. He is 82 and walked on this hilly course!" said Singh, a six-time Asian Tour champion.
"The finger hurt a bit because the rough is thick but I can manage. I'm taking care of it (finger) and nursing it well. I'm putting a lot of balm and doing other stuff to make sure it does not swell," added Singh, who won the Scottish Open in July.
Pagunsan got off to a birdie and bogey start but immediately responded with three birdies on holes 14, 17 and 18 before trading two further birdies against one blemish on his homeward nine.
"If you miss the greens, it will be very difficult to hit your second shots. I've been hitting it good in the last couple of months so I hope I can continue the momentum. I'm feeling more confident now because of how I'm playing. It won't be easy to chase down the lead but there are still three days more," said Pagunsan.
Chinnarat, the youngest champion on the Asian Tour when he won in 2005 at the age of 17 years and five days, soared with an eagle three on the 550-yard 18th hole when his rescue iron approach shot landed three feet from the hole.
"My game hasn't come together. I never had a tournament where my driver, putting and irons have been good. If it does, then it will be perfect and I can win again," said Chinnarat, a three-time Asian Tour winner.
He credited a new driver for his solid start. "I haven't played so good this year but I keep trying my best. I wasn't hitting it good with my driver earlier this year but it is getting better now. I changed my driver last month because I didn't improve even after practising!"
Tetsuji Hiratsuka of Japan started his title defence with a 68 and was bunched up with Thailand's Prom Meesawat and Prayad Marksaeng, Kieran Pratt of Australia, Berry Henson of the United States, Australian Darren Beck, Shiv Kapur of India and Rikard Karlberg of Sweden. They are all Asian Tour winners.
Leading first round scores
Scores after round 1 of the 2012 Asia-Pacific Open Golf Championship Panasonic being played at the par 71, 7020 Yards Higashi Hirono GC course (a- denotes amateur):
62 - Yuta IKEDA (JPN).
64 - Katsumasa MIYAMOTO (JPN), Koumei ODA (JPN), Yusaku MIYAZATO (JPN), Hiroyuki FUJITA (JPN), Kazuhiro YAMASHITA (JPN).
65 - KIM Do-hoon (752) (KOR).
66 - Tomohiro KONDO (JPN), Masamichi UEHIRA (JPN), Shigeru NONAKA (JPN).
67 - Hiroo KAWAI (JPN), Chinnarat PHADUNGSIL (THA), Ryuichi ODA (JPN), Juvic PAGUNSAN (PHI), K.T. KIM (KOR), Jeev Milkha SINGH (IND), Hideto TANIHARA (JPN), Toru TANIGUCHI (JPN), Daisuke KATAOKA (JPN), LEE Seong-ho (KOR), Cameron SMITH (am, AUS), Shiv KAPUR (IND), HWANG Jung-gon (KOR), WU Ashun (CHN), Hidemasa HOSHINO (JPN).
68 - Prom MEESAWAT (THA), Prayad MARKSAENG (THA), LEE Dong-hwan (KOR), Kieran PRATT (AUS), Tetsuji HIRATSUKA (JPN), Michio MATSUMURA (JPN), Berry HENSON (USA), I.J. JANG (KOR), Darren BECK (AUS), Tjaart VAN DER WALT (RSA), S.K. HO (KOR), Rikard KARLBERG (SWE), Yoshinobu TSUKADA (JPN), Yoshikazu HAKU (JPN), CHAN Yih-shin (TPE).