Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Spelunking at Ryugado!

Off we go!
   Departing from downtown Kochi City and jostling around in a Tosaden Bus for about 85 minutes, we finally arrived at Ryugado Cave in Kami City. Ryugado is counted among Japan’s Three Largest Limestone Caves. It was also designated as a National Natural Treasure and Historic Landmark in 1934.

   At Ryugado, along with the general sightseeing course, you can enjoy the Total Darkness Experience Tour and the Adventure Course. This time, the KIA staff took the Adventure Course challenge.
 
Moving through the cave using ropes
   First we changed clothes in the changing room near the ticket booth. After putting on headlamps and helmets (borrowed free of charge), we were ready to go! During the cave exploration your guide will take pictures of you, so be sure to hand over your camera before you begin. The entrance to the Adventure Course is located in the middle of the general sightseeing course, but once you leave the general sightseeing course, there are many trouble spots with no helpful equipment. You will have to crawl through tight spaces and use ropes to climb up in some places. However, your guide will show you the safe ways to get through the course, so there’s no need to worry. During your explorations, you will have fun seeing the wonderful shapes created by natural forces, while the guide shows you little magic tricks and takes you on detours off the main path. You can also see the bats that live in the cave. There are many narrow spots, so we thought that big and tall people may not be able to try this course, but we were informed that almost everyone can make it through given enough time.
Ryugado’s famous
“Vase of the Gods”
   The adventure course is only about 200 meters’ distance, but it felt much longer because there was so much to see and do. As you exit the adventure course, you can see the symbol of Ryugado, “The Vase of the Gods.” This priceless treasure is an example of Yayoi earthenware used by the ancient people who lived in the cave. Over the centuries, it became completely covered in limestone and has fused to the surface where it lies. Along with this, the limestone “Tenko-seki” or “rock descended from heaven” is also a must-see at a height of 11 meters.
 
   In recent years the number of foreign tourists has increased, especially from Taiwan. In order for more international tourists to appreciate Ryugado, the management of the cave teamed up with study abroad students from Kochi University of Technology to produce the foreign language guidance system “Cavigator.” When you download the Cavigator app to your Android phone, you will be able to hear audio guidance or read text guidance throughout the cave in English, Korean, and Chinese (traditional and simplified). Highly recommended!
 
   Ryugado is also home to the Ryugado Museum and the Kochi Rare Birds Center. In August they put on the Ryugado Festival, and in December they host Candle Nights. In summer it is cool, in winter it is warm—so find your own time to enjoy Ryugado!
 
Ryugado Cave
Location:
   Kami City, Tosayamada-cho, Sakakawa 1424
   TEL:0887-53-2144   FAX:0887-53-2145
Hours:
   8:30~17:00 (MAR~NOV), 8:30~16:30 (DEC~FEB)
General Admission:
   Adults (High School and above)1,100yen, Junior
   High School 700yen, Elementary School 550yen
Adventure Course:
   Add 1,000yen to the General Admission
   ※ Please call one day before to schedule an Adventure Course
   ※ Jumpsuit and boots rental:1,000yen
Website:
Directions:
   Board the K6 bus for Ryugado at Kencho-mae bus station, and get off at the last stop.

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