Population: 745 thousand
photo by Kzaral
Kōchi Prefecture is a prefecture of Japan located on the south coast of Shikoku.The capital is the city of Kōchi.
It is the largest but least populous of Shikoku’s four prefectures. Most of the province is mountainous, and in only a few areas such as around Kōchi and Nakamura is there a coastal plain. Kōchi is famous for its many rivers. Inamura-yama in Tosa-cho is the highest peak in Kochi prefecture with an altitude of 1,506 meters above sea level.
- KOCHI CITY
- A symbol of the city is its most famous dish, katsuo tataki, made by lightly searing and seasoning tuna.
Kōchi Castle still exists in its pre-restoration form, and is one of the main tourist attractions. Other places of interest in the city centre are the Obiyamachi shopping arcade, the regular Sunday street markets which are close to a kilometre in length, and Harimaya-bashi, a bridge that featured in a famous Kōchi song about the forbidden love of a Buddhist priest.
The mountain Godaisan holds a public park with views of the city, and is home to stop 31 on the Shikoku Pilgrimage, Chikurin-ji, as well as the Makino Botanical Garden. Temples 30 (Zenrakuji) and 33 (Sekkeiji) are also in the city. The Shinto Shrine Tosa jinja is located to the west.
Former Yamauchi Samurai Residences is a row of houses that was built as lodgings for samurai at the end of the Edo period. A couple of the houses have small exhibitions including a set of models of various styles of Japanese ship. Free.
Kochi Prefectural Museum of Art exhibits art by Japanese and foreign artists, including Marc Chagall.
Tosa Shrine. The shrine's origins are unknown but it was mentioned in both the Kojiki and Nihon-shoki, the first written records of Japanese history. Free. edit
Chikyu 33 Banchi is a monument that was constructed at 133*33'33"East Longituge, 33*33'33" North Latitude, marking the unique spot where 33 appears consecutively in all six markers. There are only 9 other places in the world where such a thing occurs and this is the only one that can be easily reached by public transport.
At the mouth of Urado Bay, the remnants of Urado Castle (an earlier provincial seat) stand above Katsurahama, a famous beach with an aquarium and statue of the Kōchi hero Sakamoto Ryōma. Nearby on the grounds is the Sakamoto Ryōma Memorial Museum.
- WHAT TO DO AND WHAT TO SEE
- Kōchi Castle. As one of only twelve intact castles in Japan, Kōchi Castle was popularly called a National Treasure
Ryugado Cave is one of Japan's top three caves and is a designated Japanese National Treasure. At the cave's entrance real ancient pottery is visible in the walls. The cave is 4 kilometres in length and visitors are able to explore nearly half (1.5km or 1 mile) of it. While the limestone caverns feature 20 waterfalls, stalactites form a maze of shapes against the sound of water.
The 196-kilometer Shimanto River is said to be the last clear stream of Japan, and it is also the longest in Shikoku Island and the second largest in Japan. It is certified as one of Japan's 100 remarkable waters by Ministry of Environment and has other recognitions such as "100 great water areas" and "100 remarkable forests of water sources".
Anpanman Museum. People flock to the Anpanman Museum in Kami City to see special memorabilia, art work, and of course the whole Anpanman crew of characters walking around in real life--or at least in stuffed form.
Adnpanman is one of Japan’s most famous children’s characters, and it’s made of bread and stuffed with bean paste.
- GETTING THERE
- By plane
Kōchi Ryōma Airport has flights to Osaka-Itami, Osaka-Kansai, Tokyo-Haneda, Nagoya-Komaki and Naha (Okinawa). Buses to/from Kochi station leaves roughly twice an hour.
The most popular way to arrive in Kochi by train is from Okayama, which is on the main island of Honshu. From Okayama take the Limited Express Nanpu train, and you will arrive in Kochi in approximately 2.5 hours.
There are several night buses from Tokyo, Osaka and Fukuoka to Kochi, and one from Osaka to Nakamura and Sukumo through out the year, as well as special bus services during the Bon festival in early August. There are also day time buses from other cities in Shikoku, as well as from Hiroshima.
While this may seem like a joke for such a far out area of Japan, Kochi is on Shikoku Island. A nationally renowned pilgrimage route runs through all 4 prefectures on the island, The 88 Temple Pilgrimage, or, Henro. This pilgrimage encompasses a visit to 88 sacred temples throughout Shikoku, 16 of which are in Kochi prefecture.
- CLIMATE/ TEMPERATURE
- Kochi features a tropical monsoon climate. It has little seasonal temperature variation, with moderate to high levels of humidity. Annual temperatures range between 23 and 31 °C, with the record high being 36.5 °C, and low of 16.3 °C.
From June to September, the south-west monsoon brings in heavy rains and from October to December, it receives lighter (yet significant) rain from the northeast monsoon. Average annual rainfall is of 125 rainy days.
- WHAT TO WEAR
- During summer, you should be fine if you wear a short-sleeved shirt, t-shirt or a dress, however a long sleeved shirt is highly recommended if you choose to go near water or to the mountains.
In the winter, be sure to bring warm clothes such as winter coat or jacket, hat, scarf and gloves.
For the spring and autumn a light jacket or a sweater should keep you warm.
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