Located at the meeting of two rivers along Shikoku’s Pacific coast, Kochi is a laid-back city with a rich history. It’s home to one of Japan’s most beautifully preserved castles and a cluster of old samurai residences, as well as one of the 88 temples along the Shikoku Pilgrimage.
Things to do in Kochi
One of only a few castles to have survived Japan’s post-feudal era wars, Kochi Castle was built in the early-17th century as the seat of the Yamauchi lords. Admire the local treasures and artefacts displayed within its original wooden interior, then soak up the city views from the top floor of its donjon tower.
Just south of the castle you’ll find the former Yamauchi Samurai Residences, which were built towards the end of the Edo Period. Step back in time as you wander through the atmospheric streets, then learn about life for the samurai in the museum that now occupies the Okwa-suji Old Samurai Residence.
Spend an afternoon exploring the Shikoku Pilgrimage temple of Chikurinji, nestled on the slopes of Godaisan mountain to the east of Kochi. Admire its ornate, five-storey pagoda and Buddhist statues, then stroll through the picturesque gardens surrounding the complex.
While in Kochi, try “katsuo no tataki”, a local specialty of lightly-broiled bonito tuna seasoned with soya sauce, vinegar and citrus juice. Alternatively, look for katsuobushi dried fish flakes that are used in a variety of Japanese dishes, with Kochi’s katsuobushi particularly renowned for its quality and flavour.
Getting around Kochi
Kochi Ryōma Airport lies 35 minutes’ drive away and regular trains make the 2.5-hour journey from Okayama. Trams travel through the city centre, which is easily explored on foot or bicycle.