Kōchi’s Ryūga Cave: A Mysterious Realm of Stalactites
Formed over some 175 million years, Ryūga Cave is one of Japan’s three great limestone caverns. Approximately 1 kilometer of its total 4-kilometer length is open to the public. Limestone formations of all shapes and sizes can be seen here, ranging from stalactites 11 meters long to phyllites 14 meters in circumference.
Designated a national natural landmark, the site offers various sightseeing courses ranging from basic to guided tours for the more adventurous. The advanced course is certain to satisfy thrill-seeking spelunkers. Going only by the light of their headlamps, participants squeeze through narrow gaps barely wide enough to wedge through one at a time, climb log ladders, and the like. Reservations are required.
Access: 20 minutes by car from the Nankoku interchange of the Kōchi Expressway.
Website: Visit Kōchi Japan (Ryūga Cave)
(Banner photo: Ryūga Cave is designated a national natural landmark. Information courtesy of the Kochi Visitors and Convention Association.)