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It was not enough days to enjoy Kochi this time!
Kochi city is the capital of Kochi prefecture which is located in Shikoku Island, facing the Pacific Ocean.
We had an opportunity to visit the city in later March, just before cherry blossom blooming!
It is accessible to the city by JR train or flight from major cities in Japan.
We have arrived at Kochi city around 10am, and after check-in our luggage at the Hotel in the city, we have visited a symbol of the city, Kochi Castle, which was originally built in 1601-1603 by the Lord Katsutoyo Yamauchi, but was destroyed in a large fire in 1728 and rebuilt in 1749. It is the one of only 12 ‘Tenshu (Castle tower)’, one of only 4 ‘Honmaru Goten (Lord’s Residence & reception suite)’ and one of only 9 ’Otemon (main gate)’ remaining from the Edo period (1603-1867). All of them have been designated as Important Cultural Properties.It is also the castle you can take a photo of ‘Tenshu’ & ‘Otemon’ together in one shot.
The size of the castle is quite compact, so we could go up to the top of the castle tower without hard work to get a fantastic view of the city.
Hours: 9am – 5pm (last entry at 4.30pm)
Fees: 420 yen
As it is almost time for lunch, we have headed to Hirome Market which is located about 10 min. on foot from Kochi Castle.
It is a food market with large space for casual dining day and night. There are plenty of taste of Kochi here. The one you shouldn’t miss is ‘Katsuo no warayaki tataki (Bonito roasting with straw)’!!
You can see how it’s cooked through the window. It is a great cooking performance you cannot see outside of Kochi.
There are variety of fishes and seafood such as Shimizu brand of mackerel, sea bream, tuna, crab, lobster
‘Utsubo (moray eel)’, and so on as well as meat menus such as ‘Yakitori’ or ‘Karaage’ of Tosa-jiro chicken and Tosa beef steak.
By the way, ’Tosa’ is the old name of Province of present Kochi Prefecture. This name might be familiar as one of the breeds of Japanese dog, Tosa Dog, a fighting dog.
Let’s back to food stuff! Don’t forget to try vegetables such as very sweet tomato is called ‘Fruits Tomato’ and tasteful cucumber.
Address: 2-3-1 Obiya-machi, Kochi City
Access: 10 min. walk from Kochi castle
Hours: 8am – 11pm
After we filled our stomach full, we have headed to Godai-san Chikurin-ji temple which is located south of the city on Mt. Godai. It is accessible by ‘My Yu Bus (Kochi city sightseeing bus)’.
This Temple is one of the most important temples in Kochi City and the 31st temple on the Shikoku 88 pilgrimage path. Built in the early 8th century and holds many treasures such as ‘Monju-do
(Main Hall)’, ‘Shoin (drawing room)’ and wooden Buddhist statues in the treasure hall (admission 400 yen), all of them are designated as National Important Cultural Properties.
Don’t miss a viewing of the beautiful garden from the ‘Kyakuden (reception hall)’, which can be done with an admission ticket of the treasure hall.
There is a five-story pagoda shrine which was built in 1980 as the existed three-story pagoda was destroyed
by a typhoon in 1899.
At this temple, it is also possible to experience Sutra copying by advance arrangement.
The surroundings are very peaceful with trees and mossy covered garden and you might see several pilgrims passing through in traditional attire with conical hats and walking sticks.
We had an opportunity to chat with a Hungarian pilgrim who walks through to hear from Mt.Koya!! as the first visit to Japan!!! Amazing dedication to Buddhism ….
Lastly, we visited a picturesque Katsura-hama (beach) which is famous for the best moon viewing spot since old time.
There is a tiny shrine on the rocks and viewing deck at the right end of the beach. Unfortunately, the weather was not perfect when we visited there, but the view from there is still beautiful.
A huge bronze statue of Sakamoto Ryoma who played a key role in overthrowing the Tokugawa shogunate in the late 19th century, stands on the hill just behind the beach and faces the raging waves of the Pacific Ocean.
The area around the beach is designated as “Katsurahama Park.” and lined with the Tosa Dog Museum and the Katsurahama Aquarium. The Sakamoto Ryoma Memorial Museum stands on the mountainside in the park.
Unfortunately, swimming in the area is strictly forbidden.
After got back to the city centre, it is dinner time!
We went one of the Izakayas to enjoy another tasty meals and Japanese ‘Sake’ with a bit of fun.
There are good Sake breweries in Kochi, so that’s one of the reason people in Kochi enjoy drinking ‘Sake’ often a lot!!
The special fun, is called ‘Ozashiki-asobi’, traditional sake drinking games in Tosa has been arranged by our local friends and two female attendants wearing Kimono joined to our ozashiki (dining at tatami room) and taught us the sake drinking games is called ‘Bekuhai’ and ‘Kiku no hana’. If you and your party love ‘Sake’, this could be the best way to enjoy a night in Kochi city!!
Just before go back to the hotel, there was another one we had to try as food lovers.
It is ‘Gyoza Yatai (Meat dumpling stall)’, is called ‘Yasube’. This stall is only open at night. (Actually, you can have them at Hirome Market at day & night time as well.)
‘Gyoza’ can be found any place in Japan, but ‘Yasube’s Gyoza’ is something special! Chinese chives and ginger grown in Kochi and fresh pork minces wrapped by original very thin pastry shell are grilled in the special method. They are so juicy and crispy, so don’t miss to taste this Gyoza while you are in Kochi city!
Hours: 4-19 Nijudai-machi, Kochi City
Hours: 7pm – 3am
Well, it was not enough days to enjoy Kochi this time and we are hoping to visit the places such as Shimanto River area, Cape Muroto, Cape Ashizuri and more next time!!
For further information about Kochi can be found at the link below.
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