A limestone cave where people once lived 2000 years ago
Ryugadou is located on Mt. Sampo and is considered to be one of Japan’s three great limestone caves. Basically divided into 3 caves, the limestone cave is said to have a total distance of 4km which includes 24 branch caves winding in a complex, maze-like pattern. 1 kilometer has been opened to the public. The inside of the cave maintains an average temperature throughout the year of a refreshingly cool 15 degrees C, and by the entrance to the cave, Ryuou Shrine brings spiritual protection for all those who enter the cave. Inside, stalactites with various shapes such as a chandelier and even Ryoma Sakamoto can be seen, and by the exit, there are remnants of a cave lifestyle in the Yayoi Era 2000 years ago. There is also the unusual sight of an example of Yayoi Era pottery encased in limestone. Next to the cave, there is a museum which features displays of objects discovered in the cave as well as scientific material on the natural environment, and The Rare Bird Center which breeds and exhibits the long-tailed rooster, a Special Natural Monument of Kochi. The prefecture is famous as a breeding ground for special brands of chicken. Both facilities are open to the public free of admission.
The interactive tour to enjoy a real adventure
Along with the general tourist course (reservations not required), there are 2 other courses with the more popular one being the Adventure Course. Requiring phone reservations up to the day before the tour, a helmet with a headlight is included with the rental overalls and boots. With a guide, you proceed in total darkness, and branching away from the middle of the tourist course, you enter the Adventure Course, as you follow on a narrow path for a distance of 200m, and climb up a wooden ladder and a cliff for a genuine adventure. Then there is the Darkness Experience Course which is popular for those who are bringing the kids. Only operating on the 2nd Sunday of the month, the lighting on the general tourist course is turned off and lanterns turned on to provide a thrilling but safe tour.