There was once a small village on the beach where there lived a young fisherman named Urashima Tarou. One day as he was coming back from fishing, he noticed a group of children torturing a small turtle. Urashima Tarou saved it and let it go back to the sea. The next day when he went out to sea on his boat, a giant turtle appeared before him and thanked him for saving its baby. The turtle said the princess Otohime of Ryugu Palace wished to thank him and well, and was here to take him to the palace. Urashima Tarou rode on the giant turtle’s back and it brought him to the bottom of the sea, to the biggest and most wonderful palace he has ever seen.
The beautiful princess Otohime thanked Urashima Tarou for saving her brethren and treated him as a guest of honor. Each day, he enjoyed a splendid feast and performances of fishes, singers and dancers. Princess Otohime showed him around the palace, where each room was a wonder in itself – in some of them were and endless lush forest, a frozen lake, a view of a misty mountain range, and so many more that Urashima Tarou began to forget he was in the deep ocean.
One day, Urashima Tarou no longer remembered how long he had stayed at Ryugu Palace and started to miss his aging parents decided it was time for him to return home. Otohime was sorry to see him go, but wished him well and as a parting present, gave him a mysterious box called a tamatebako which she said to never open. Urashima Tarou was brought back to the shore by the same turtle that brought him to the palace.
When he get arrived his village, everything has changed and he cannot find his house. He asked around about where his house and his family has gone but no one knew who he was. He finally finds an old man who remembered the name Urashima Tarou and said that this man disappeared at sea 300 years ago and never returned, and his parent waited for him until they day they died.
Urashima wandered around, depressed with no where to go, and in his grief, forgets the princess’s warnings about opening the box. A puff of white smoke gushed from the box, and surrounded Urashima Tarou, turning him into an bent decrepit man with long white hair.