Kochi - Japanese Wonder And Birthplace Of Japan's Most Famous Samurai
Kochi, Japanese City, the capital of the Kochi Prefecture, is situated on the south coast of Shikoku Island, the smallest of Japan's four major islands, and presents a side of the country that is seldom featured in standard Japan travel subjects.
It's a mystery why, since getting to this lonely location off Honshu's south coast has never been easier, due to increased domestic tourism, and the treasures you may discover on this island are among the finest gifts you can give yourself.
'Well, what are some of the things that would make us want to visit there?' many of you are undoubtedly asking.
To be honest, Kochi could be the ideal location for you if you like Japanese history, gorgeous outdoor landscapes, Japanese delicacies (but not as you know them), beaches that match those on Southeast Asian coasts, and unique museums that you won't find anywhere else.
The city locals are as friendly as they come, and because you're far away from the mainstream crowds that flock to Osaka and Tokyo's more populous areas, you'll find that time slows down as you wander the streets looking for a bite to eat, a store to explore, and some souvenirs to commemorate your time there - be warned, though, you might strike up a conversation with one of the locals if you're not careful; they're always looking for fresh new
Flights, buses, trains, or a combination of these modes of transportation are available from Tokyo and Osaka to Kochi.
A one-way trip with JAL from Tokyo Haneda Airport costs around 10,000 yen for one passenger.
This is the fastest and shortest way to Kochi Airport, taking about 90 minutes. You may take the Shinkansen there as well.
Take the JR Tokaido/Sanyo Shinkansen from Tokyo to Okayama, then transfer to a JR Nanpu limited express train to Kochi.
This journey will cost roughly 20,000 yen and take around 6 hours. If you're traveling with the Japan Rail Pass, you'll have to use the Sakura Shinkansen between Tokyo and Okayama, which will add time to your journey but will be completely covered.
If you're considering riding the bus, it may or may not be less expensive than flying (depending on the season and ticket availability).
Japan Bus Online will show you how to go from Tokyo to Kochi via bus. The journey will take 11.5 hours and cost around 12,900 yen for one person.
As you can see, this is not the most time-efficient way, so book a flight as soon as you know you're going to Kochi (or use your JR pass if you have some time to spare and are on a budget).
The quickest and most efficient way to get to Kochi from Osaka's Kansai International Airport is to take an airport bus to Sannomiya Station (costs around 2,000 yen per person and takes about an hour), and then transfer to a highway bus to Kochi Station (this will cost roughly 5,650 yen per person, and will take roughly four hours).
Please see this page for further information on where and when the schedules are available.
If you want to see a more genuine side of Japan, complete with lots of mother nature's best work, here's a guide to help you plan a trip to the area that can easily keep you busy for more than a week!
In the heart of Kochi, the Harimayabashi Guesthouse is a true jewel. It will be quite simple to access the city's major attractions from the guesthouse, which is located just close to Harimaya Bridge.
Instead of the conventional dormitories, you'll sleep in a wooden capsule, which is really rather comfortable and handy.
And, although it may seem little to you, the guesthouse has a Super Nintendo, which we used till late at night!
Bright Park Hotel's ease and simplicity will be the key to your pleasant trip, located right in the heart of the city.
Look no farther if you're seeking for a little bit of privacy at a low cost. You may relax all day in your hotel room, which has a large flat-screen TV with satellite channels and a private adjoining bathroom so you don't have to share with anybody else.
If you don't feel like leaving the hotel, don't worry; there's a restaurant on-site for your convenience, and a vegetarian breakfast is served every morning for a little extra flair.
Staff at this location have a reputation for being really helpful, so if you're ever unclear where to go or what to do, simply walk down to the reception desk and ask!
Why Guests Love It: “Literally right in the middle of the city - a two-minute walk to the surrounding restaurants”, “Staff were very friendly and helpful, located near lots of cafes, restaurants and bars, very clean, delicious breakfast”, “Great location, the Sunday Market is right outside the door! Really helpful staff, giving us local maps and highlighting the good spots for restaurants”.
Takasago Ryokan has it all for every sort of visitor, including traditional Japanese-style accommodations as well as western-style rooms for those who can't get enough of resting on light, fluffy futons.
The ryokan rooms offer fine shoji (sliding paper doors), tatami mats, and minimalistic Japanese furniture, while the rooms with bedding include contemporary décor with warm, earthy tones for that opulent feel you envision excellent hotels to radiate.
The accommodations are significantly larger than what you're used to in Japan, so enjoy!
Every morning, a delicious continental breakfast is served, and if you get stuck, the front desk is open 24 hours a day to help you with your questions.
- Get Rowdy at the Hirome Ichiba Food Market
- Explore Kochi Castle
- Hang Out at Katsurahama Beach
- Tour through Ryogado Cave
- Dine on Katsuo no Tataki
- Learn History at the Sakamoto Ryoma Memorial Museum
- Be Mesmerised at Cape Ashizuri
- Spend a Day at Kochi Downtown
If you like having casual discussions with locals, visiting dingy interior markets where the smell of smoke pervades the air, and seeing stallholders sell their wares and cooks perform their magic right in front of your eyes, the Hirome Ichiba Food Market is a must-see!
It opens in the morning but truly comes alive at night when the beverages flow freely and the crowd becomes more animated.
The instant you enter through the entry flaps, your eyes will be assaulted (in the greatest conceivable manner!).
Among the 60 or so stalls throughout the market, you'll find grocers selling a variety of snacks and fresh fruits and vegetables, fishmongers displaying rows of fresh seafood, and, of course, all types of steamed, grilled, deep-fried, flamed, stir-fried foods.
Don't make the mistake of going right to the first booth; instead, wander across the market and create a mental list of all the locations you want to purchase anything before returning - you'll be astonished at how much diversity there is.
There are communal wooden tables in the centre and around the market where you may camp out for a free seat, but be fast since there will be others vying for the same table!
What's a trip to a historical and culturally rich island like Shikoku without a stop to one of its most popular castles?
Kochi Castle is located in Kochi City and has been designated by the Japanese government as a "National Treasure."
It's one of the (very) few surviving castles in Japan that hasn't been destroyed by nature or by conflict in the centuries since it was erected - all the way back during the Meiji era!
While its history may be the most important feature for visitors, bear in mind that it might also be one of the most beautiful castles you've ever seen.
Standing on the observation deck at the top of the castle, surrounded by trees that come alive during cherry blossom and koyo (fall leaves in Japan) season, you'll be treated to breathtaking vistas like you've never seen before.
If you're traveling during the summer, take a bus to Katsurahaam Beach, which is 30 minutes south of Kochi City, to cool down.
While swimming is not permitted at the beach owing to strong currents, even being near the sea should bring the temperature down a few degrees.
The beauty of the surroundings here is what makes this beach so popular: breathtaking blue waves, sandy beaches, bordered, in certain sections, by lush green trees - it's a picture not frequently associated with Japan, and people love it!
A statue of Sakamoto Ryoman, which is constructed nearby, is one of the beach's highlights.
The monument honors notable contemporary Japanese builders who were instrumental in ending Japan's feudal era in 1868.
In Japan, stalactite caverns are a real phenomenon. Imagine exploring vast tunnels where sharp pointed rock formations are directed directly at your face when you gaze up.
There's something about such scenarios that makes people apprehensive while also making them intrigued, and Ryugado Cave is the ideal site to satisfy your urge to be floating in the water under those spiky rocks.
Ryogado Cave, located west of Kochi in the Sampo mountain range, is one of the largest caves of its sort in Japan.
This limestone cave (estimated to be over 150,000,000 years old) is home to amazing stalactite formations that leave visitors speechless the instant they see them.
Around 100 different animal species are born and reared in the cave, and you may have a chance to see some of them!
The most popular tour is one where you go on a one-kilometer walk (roughly a quarter of the cave).
The adventurous course (which must be booked in advance) takes participants on a two-hour tour into the cave, deep into the darkest depths and along small corridors, for those with a greater hunger for adventure (note: those who cannot speak or understand Japanese cannot take the adventure course).
Following that, all tourists will be able to visit the neighboring Ryugado Rare Bird Centre and Ryugado Museum.
Every area has a signature cuisine that it is particularly proud of, and Kochi's is katsuo no tataki.
If you like sashimi, this will blow your mind, and even if you don't, you should give it a try since the flavor sensations will strike you in a way that sashimi hasn't before (in the greatest way imaginable!).
What is katsuo no tataki, exactly? It's basically sliced up bonito (also known as skipjack tuna), gently broiled (cooked by being directly exposed to the fire), seasoned with salt or soy sauce, vinegar, and citrus, and served with spring onion, ginger, and garlic.
Katsuo no tataki was historically broiled over a straw fire before current cooking techniques were developed (until the outer layer was just grilled).
You'll want to keep going back for more (and more...) because the freshness of the bonito, mixed with the smokiness of its grilled skin and the tanginess of the vinegar and citrus flavoring, is just too fantastic.
If you visit the Hirome Ichiba Market, there are a few shops known for their katsuo no tataki meals. This meal is also available at izakayas and restaurants across the city.
As previously stated, Sakamoto Ryoma is a well-known character in Japanese history, with a monument dedicated to him at Katsurahama Beach.
While this is an important monument to pay tribute to, if you want to understand more about the man who was instrumental in toppling the Tokugawa Shogunate in the late 1800s, you should pay a visit to this memorial museum. It's conveniently positioned near the Katsurahama Beach in a park.
You may see many surviving documents written by Sakamoto himself, as well as a variety of personal artifacts he possessed and a big collection of information about his climb to prominence in Japanese history, here.
For those who are accompanying but aren't interested in learning about history, the museum's architecture should be enough of a reason to attend - the gorgeous structure blends modernism with a touch of traditional flair, with the Pacific Ocean as a background.
The most southern point of Shikoku Island, Cape Ashizuri, is a sight to witness in Japan at any time of year.
It's part of the Ashizuri Uwakai National Park, and there are several spots of interest where you may capture the beauty of Shikoku's coastline.
The Tengu-no-Hana observation platform, which gives a 270-degree view of the Pacific Ocean, is the most popular attraction here.
You'll be mesmerized when you stand on top of the deck and watch the big waves slamming onto the magnificent cliff rocks, and you'll want to spend the next several hours simply taking it all in.
Other local sights include the Hakusan Domon, a distinctive 16-meter-high, 17-meter-wide rock arch carved out naturally by the power of the waves.
You may see this in a unique manner by visiting the Manjiro Footbath. Its structure has floor-to-ceiling glass windows that stare out over the Hakusan Domon, and you may sit there and soak your feet in the tubs while taking it all in. The best part about it? It's completely free!
There are a variety of ways to travel to Cape Ashizuri, but we suggest renting a vehicle and driving the lengthy but scenic route from Kochi.
There are lots of rest stations along the road, so you'll have plenty of time to explore the locations that many articles can't even begin to cover owing to their sheer quantity.
If you've seen all of the temples and have reached your quota of castle visits for the year, you could be feeling a bit down, particularly if you're in Kochi.
But there's no need to be, since downtown Kochi is just as active as you need it to be to reclaim your city slicker funk.
We may be exaggerating a bit, but you could be surprised if you spend a few hours strolling around and investigating the downtown area. This delightful small town has a lot to offer!
There's a smidgeon of history in there. Harimayabashi is a symbol of the great love tale that is legendary across Kochi.
It is a modest red bridge that you will see near the main strip. A priest and a local girl from Kochi allegedly had an illicit connection that they kept secret, but he was caught buying a hair comb one day, and they had to escape together to avoid punishment.
As you go along the promenade, you'll see a slew of businesses selling the aforementioned hair combs.
Obiyamachi Itchome Shopping Street is the most well-known shopping street. Clothing, cosmetics, food, and everything in between are sold in mazes of retail strips inside arcades that appear to stretch on forever.
Most of them are also hidden, so you won't have to worry about the weather ruining your binge.
Kochi, on Japan's Shikoku Island, is known for its beautiful scenery, tasty skipjack tuna, and yuzu cultivation.
Kochi also has a long history, since Ryoma Sakamoto, one of Japan's most renowned samurai, was born here. Kochi was once known as Tosa Province before the Meiji Restoration.
Kchi (, Kchi-shi, pronounced [koti I is the capital of Kchi Prefecture, which is situated on the Japanese island of Shikoku. With approximately 40% of the prefecture's population, Kchi is the most populous city.
Overall, Kochi is a fantastic Japanese destination. It's a prefecture I'd want to return to, not only for the sake, but also for the cuisine and scenery.
But also for the folks who contributed to making my stay unforgettable. I strongly advise you to go off the beaten path and explore this undeveloped and rural part of Japan.
The city is regarded as the "Queen of the Arabian Sea" and has one of the world's best natural harbors. For centuries, it was the center of the international spice trade.
Old Kochi (now known as West Kochi) is a broad term for a series of islands that includes Willingdon Island, Fort Kochi, Mattancherry, and others.
Kochi is such a wonderful, dynamic place to visit, and since it is not as congested as many other Japanese cities, you will have plenty of time to learn about the city as well as the lovely landscape that surrounds it.
It's the ideal destination for groups of people who can't decide whether they want to explore the city and meet the locals or spend a whole day travelling into the countryside to see vistas that aren't accessible anyplace else on the planet.