Wednesday, July 29, 2009

World 1-2 (龍河洞)

Ryugado is one of three major limestone caves in Japan, and as such, it is a major tourist attraction in Kochi Prefecture. The less said about the horrendous Onaga-dori Center the better (see pics below).

Being a cave, most of the joy of visiting Ryugado comes from admiring the different stalactites and rock formations. The cave is also home to dwelling space and artifacts used by an ancient and long forgotten people. Wouldn't you agree that the phrase "long forgotten" adds mystery and intrigue whenever it's used?

The $10 price of admission allows visitors to walk through a 1 km long predetermined route inside the cave, ducking under rocks and squeezing through narrow passageways as they go.

There's also an adventure course available, that has participants strapping on head lamps and traveling into the inner depths of the cave. Wishing to avoid those pale, missing-link creatures from "The Descent", I chose to stick to the wussy course.

Needless to say, it was incredibly cool inside the cave (both definitions of the word "cool" apply in this instance). Since the place was packed with tourists, it did at times feel like some sort of giant spelunking conga line - squished back-to-back with fellow visitors, all waiting to snap our photos of the next stalactite or mite.

Occasionally a water droplet would pelt my shoulder, having wiggled its way down from the labyrinth of rocks above. It was during one of these fleeting moments that I realized...I am Indiana Jones.


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