This time in Exploring Japan, we return to Shikoku for Kochi Prefecture.
Kochi is the prefecture on Shikoku that faces the Pacific Ocean, and it’s also the largest prefecture on Shikoku. It has a population of 757,914, one of the smallest in Japan. It’s capital city is Kochi. The 5 largest cities are:
- Kochi (340,515)
- Nankoku (49,040)
- Shimanto (35,968)
- Konan (33,830)
- Kami (28,766)
Most cities are quite small. The population of Kochi has been declining for a long time.
Kochi Castle is the only notable castle in Kochi, and it’s an important one. It’s one of the 12 original castles remaining in Japan. There’s a lot to see, and it’s castle that was built during peacetime.
Aki Castle in Aki is mainly just ruins, but it seems to have some decent-looking stone walls.
Things to see and do
Kochi is famous for its hero, Sakamoto Ryoma. He was from Kochi, and he was a famous leader who was instrumental in ending the Tokugawa government. So, of course, you can visit the Sakamoto Ryoma Memorial Museum and Sakamoto Ryoma’s Hometown Museum. Other museums include the Museum of Art, Kochi and the Kochi People’s and Liberty Museum. Tosa Shrine is well-known, and Chikurinji Temple can be found on Mount Godaisan. Godaisan Park provides great views of the city. The Makino Botanical Garden is nearby and should be good to visit. Harimayabashi is a famous, but small bridge from a well-known story. Katsurahama is a famous beach with the Katsurahama Aquarium, and nearby is the remains of Urado Castle. You can also see the Tosa Dog-Fighting Center. The Sunday Market should be great for some shopping for fresh fish, vegetables, and more. The Yosakoi Festival is a famous festival that involves teams of dancers.
Kami is a small city, but has plenty to see. The biggest draw is Ryugado Cave, one of Japan’s top 3 caves. Also, this is the hometown of Anpanman’s creator, so there’s the Anpanman Museum. Kagamino Park is a great place to see cherry blossoms, while Todoro Falls is one of the top 100 waterfalls in Japan. For museums, you can see the Kami City Art Museum, Okumonobe Art Museum, and Yoshii Isamu Memorial Museum. There are a few temples and shrines to see, including Hachioji Shrine, Shionomine Kujikata Shrine, and Koshoji temple.
Nankoku has a few historical sites, including the Oko Castle grounds, which are good for seeing cherry blossoms. Tosa Kokubunji temple and Zenjibuji temple are on the Shikoku 88 Temple Pilgrimage.
Shimanto is a city where you can see a few natural things. You can participate in outdoor activities around the Shimanto River, as well as head down to the nearby beach and see whales, dolphins, and turtles.
Cape Ashizuri is the southernmost point on Shikoku, and it has a few things to see. It’s in Ashizuri-Uwakai National Park. The best things to see are probably Tengu-no-Hana, a viewpoint that looks out over the ocean, and Kongofukuji temple, one of the largest temples on the temple pilgrimage. It was also here that Nakahama Manjiro was born, shipwrecked, and rescued by an American whaling ship. He was the first Japanese man to travel to the USA, and he acted as an interpreter for Commodore Perry. So, there’s a statue dedicated to him.
Kochi is famous for katsuo tataki, which is a bonito, or skipjack tuna, seared on the outside while the inside remains raw. Sounds good.
Did I miss anything? Please leave a comment!