Located in Mt. Sampo, Ryugado Stalactite Cave (龍河洞) is one of the biggest three of its kind in Japan. Thought to be some 150,000,000 years old, this magical and mystical limestone cave was designated a national natural monument in 1934 thanks to its spectacular stalactite formations as well as the 100 or so animal species that dwell there, including bats, shrimps and crabs. Visitors can venture 1 km into the cave along the main route, about a quarter of the entire cave. Budding explorers with an appetite for a challenge can take on the adventure course (booking in advance required). Spanning a 2-hour journey through narrow passageways which require crawling and climbing wooden ladders, the adventure course takes explorers deep into the dark recesses of the cave. Once visitors exit the cave they can enjoy the Ryugado Rare Bird Center and Ryugado Museum located nearby.
As well as being a national treasure due to its natural worth and significance, Ryugado Stalactite Cave was also designated a national historic site in 1934. Upon its discovery in 1931, dozens of extremely rare, almost-intact earthenware vessels, dishes and furnaces full of charcoal and animal bones were unearthed by the cave's entrance dating back to the Yayoi Period between roughly 300 B.C. and 300 A.D., providing remarkable insight into the lives of the people of that time. One particular symbolic relic of interest discovered is known as 'God's Vessel', an earthenware vessel encased in stalactite.
By public transportation
From Tosayamada Station on the JR Dosan Line it is approximately 20 minutes by bus. From Kochi Ryoma Airport it takes about 15 minutes by car. If you are coming via the Tosa Kuroshio Railway, get off at Noichi Station and travel by car for about 15 minutes.
Take the Kochi Expressway and exit at the Nangoku Interchange. Then drive for approximately 20 minutes.
Hours: Open 8:30 to 17:00 (Mar. to Nov.), 8:30 to 16:30 (Dec. to Feb.)
1,100 yen for adults, 700 yen for children under 15 and 550 yen for children under 12. Discounts available for groups.
Adventure course is an additional 1,000 yen (booking in advance required). Rental of gear and boots is 1,000 yen.
Address: 1424 Sakagawa, Toyosamadacho, Kami City, Kochi Prefecture
Airport: Kochi Airport
Open all year
Available for up to 600 cars and 30 coaches