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Ryuguujyou - The Butterfly House

By: Kotoko Chinen

Date Posted: 1999-03-02

Visitors to the Expo Park in Motobu Town may have noticed an old-fashioned looking Japanese house right next to the park and wondered what it is. The place is called 'Ryuguujyou,' a Japanese fairy tale house that opened about four years ago.

'Ryuguujyou' is the name of the legendary castle where fish, turtles, mermaids and other sea creatures secretly have feasts and live happily and peacefully in the deep of the sea without letting human beings know its existence in the Japanese fairy tale called 'Urashima-Taro.'

With the blue waters of Ie-Channel on the background, it's a brown tile-roofed structure surrounded by a tall, white wall it conjures the image of the castle of the sea. However, unlike the old story, what welcome the visitors here are not sea life, but butterflies.

On the first floor of the Ryuguujyou, there's a section where people can see and actually touch beautiful butterflies. Inside the Butterfly Garden, the air is a bit humid and the place is filled with green thick vegetation. The distinctive feeling is that you're in a small jungle. Approximately three thousand colorful butterflies, including Ryukyu-Asagimagura, Houraikagami, and Ohgomadara, are flying sedately among the flowers and the plants. Ohgomadara can be seen only in Okinawa in Japan, since they exist only in subtropical climate.

An interesting experience waits for those who wear red outfits. Ohgomadara, easily recognized by black markings on their white wings, are attracted to the color of red by nature. Those who don't feel comfortable feeling like the flute player in "The Orchestra in Bremen," can borrow red caps that are prepared for the visitors who wish to experience the phenomenon just for a moment.

One of the main attractions in the garden are the golden chrysalises of Ohgomadara, the largest butterfly at the garden. The golden color of the peanut shell-sized chrysalises is so glittering that it's hard to believe they are real. Ohgomadara lay their eggs under the leaves of only certain kinds of. From the distance, the chrysalises look like fruit and it takes and expert to recognize them. Don't forget to bring your camera.

There's a restaurant on third floor offering Okinawan-style fare. On a fine day, step out to a terrace. The magnificent view of Sesoko Bridge, Ie Island, Onna Island spread in front of your eyes.

The admission is 400 for adults and 200 for children from age of 3 to 16. A 10 percent discount from the entrance fee and the total charge at the restaurant is offered to those who bring this issue of Japan Update with them. Show the paper at the ticket counter and the cashier in the restaurant.

English is not spoken and only Yen is accepted. A spacious free parking lot is right across from the building. Ryuguujyou is open daily from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

To get there, take Highway 58 north from Kadena to Nago. Go straight and the road will change from highway 58 to 449. Pass Sesoko Bridge and the Bell Beach Golf Club. Turn left to Highway 114 and continue about 5 minutes. Ryuguujyou will be on your left.

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