龍河洞

Ryuga-do - Ryuga Cave - Ryugadou - Dragon River Cave - Ryugado Water Cave


Useful Information

Location: Sakakawa. 1424 Sakagawa, Tosayamada-cho, Kami-shi, Kochi.
15 minutes by car from Kochi-Ryoma Airport. From Kochi follow R55 east, in Noichicho Nishino turn left on road 22 to Ryugado 8 km, signposted.
(33.603518, 133.744913)
Open: MAR to NOV daily 8:30-17.
DEC to FEB daily 8:30-16:30.
Museum: MAR to NOV daily 8:30-16:50.
DEC to FEB daily 8:30-16:20.
Cave Trekking tours: after appointment.
[2012]
Fee: Adults JPY 1,200, Children (12-14) JPY 700, Children (6-11) JPY 550, Children (0-5) free, Disabled JPY 800, Locals JPY 600.
Groups (15+): Adults JPY 1,000, Children (12-14) JPY 600, Children (6-11) JPY 400.
Groups (40+): Adults JPY 900, Children (12-14) JPY 550, Children (6-11) JPY 400.
Groups (100+): Adults JPY 800, Children (12-14) JPY 500, Children (6-11) JPY 350.
Water Cave Course: Adults JPY 1,500, Cave Management JPY 200, Equipment Rental JPY 1,000.
Cave Trekking tours: Adults JPY 1,000, Cave Management JPY 200, Overall JPY 800.
Museum: free.
Bird station: free.
[2022]
Classification: SpeleologyKarst cave SpeleologyRiver Cave
Light: LightLED Lighting LightColoured Light
Dimension: L=4,000 m.
Guided tours: self guided, L=1,000 m.
Water Cave Course: D=30 min, MinAge=6, Max=5.
Cave Trekking tours: D=90 min, MinAge=15.
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: no
Bibliography:
Address: Ryugadou Preservation Group, 1424 Sakagawa, Tosayamada-cho, Kami-shi, Kōchi Prefecture 782-0005, Tel: +81-887-53-2144, Fax: +81-887-53-2145.
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.

History

1931 cave discovered.
1934 designated a National Natural Monument and a National Historic Site by the Japanese government.
2019 cave renovated.
APR-2021 Water Cave Course opened to the public.
OCT-2021 Bird Station temporarily closed.

Description

龍河洞 (Dragon River Cave) has fine speleothems and numerous archaeological remains. Around the cave entrance pottery from the Yayoi Period (300 BC-300 AD) was found. There were shards, animal bones, and shells in one corner of the entrance, and a water jar to collect water dripping from above in the other corner. The archaeological remains are on display in a small museum at the cave entrance. The museum also houses an exhibition of the troglobionts living in the cave and an exhibition on the geological situation of Ryugado Cave. There is also a Onagadori bird station and both, museum and bird station are free.

Quite exceptional is the Kami-no-tubo (God's Jar), which is a Yayoi-style earthenware bottle with a round body and a conical neck. It was obviously placed on a ledge in the flowstone, probably to collect water, and then forgotten. Today the whole bottle is covered by at least 1 cm of flowstone and looks like it was created together with the stone, hence the name. Actually it is quite natural that objects are covered by limestone, but in 1937 someone placed another jar on the flowstone beneath the bottle as an experiment. The result is as normal as it is spectacular, the jar is completely covered by limestone.

In the maze-like cave more than 100 species have been counted so far. Beneath cave visitors like bats there are true cave animals like blind crabs.

The cave offers cave trekking tours, locally called Bouken or Adventure Course. Participants get helmets and headlamps, a caver overall, gumboots, and gloves. There is a fee for every person and a cave management fee, also for every participant. As the tour includes the show cave tour, the passage for the cave trekking is at the far end of the show cave trail, you have to pay the regular fee on top! And they now charge a fee for the equipment, but only for overall and gumboots, not for helmet and headlamp. If you have caving equipment, bring it! The tours are possible only after appointment.

A new tour was opened which is called Water Cave Course, which is located in a western branch of the cave system called 西本洞 (Nishimoto-dong, West Main Cave). The entrance is a resurgence right beneath the show cave entrance. The cave is a cave trekking tour, but without the getting dirty and crawl part. It's a river passage which has no cave clay, but a cold river through which you are wading. Waterproof boots, elbow pads, knee pads, headlamp, and helmet are provided for free, but if you want an overall you have to pay. We recommend bringing dry clothes to change and a towel, and probably some plastic bags for the wet clothes.