By planePint-sized Kōchi Ryōma Airport (KCZ) has flights to Osaka-Itami, Tokyo-Haneda, Nagoya-Komaki and Fukuoka. Buses to/from Kochi station (35-45 min, ¥700) leave roughly twice an hour.
The fastest way to get to Kochi from Okayama is to take the Nanpu Limited Express train, which departs every hour. It costs ¥5990 (no cost with the Japan Rail Pass) and takes 2½ hours.
By busHighway buses depart for Kochi daily from Osaka (¥6000) and Kyoto (¥6500).
By carYou can easily visit Kochi by car.
- Enterprise Car Rental
By busThe My-Yu Bus (MY遊バス) service runs from the north side of JR Kochi Station. Day passes are ¥1000. The bus stops at 3 locations on Mt. Godaisan (Chikurinji, Makino Botanical Garden, and the Godaisan Lookout Point) and continues on to Katsurahama.
Kochi has trams running south from Kochi Station and east-west along Route 32. Within the downtown area, it costs ¥200 per trip.
The streets are wide and traffic fairly light compared to most Japanese cities. Watch out for cyclists riding the wrong way into traffic.
phone: +81 888-24-5701address: 2-1-1 MarunouchiKochi Castle is one of the few original white castles in Japan. Access to the castle grounds is free, and the entrance fee to enter the castle is well worthwhile. The views from the castle are spectacular.
address: 353-2 TakasuArt by Japanese and foreign artists, including Marc Chagall. Noh plays are held in the museum hall.
Tosa ShrineThe shrine's origins are unknown but it was mentioned in both the Kojiki and Nihon-shoki, the first written records of Japanese history.
Zenraku-jiIt was originally built as a temple-shrine by Kobo Daishi, encompassing nearby Tosa Shrine, but the temple structures were all torn down in 1868 when the Meiji government ordered Buddhism and Buddhist iconography to be removed from Shinto sites. The temple wasn't rebuilt until 1929 and was not actually among the 88 temples of the Shikoku Pilgrimage until 1990. Anraku-ji also claimed to be the 30th temple until it was made the okunoin of Zenrakuji, allowing Zenrakuji to be given the official title.
Sakamoto Ryoma's Hometown MuseumThe 2-floor museum features information and artifacts from Sakamoto Ryoma, his family, and Kochi city during the days when he lived here.
Harimayabashi BridgeA bridge made famous by a story that took place here; a young monk had a secret affair with a woman but one day he was seen by the bridge buying a hairpin which was a telltale sign that he had a lover. Because monks were not allowed to be romantically involved with anyone, he and the woman fled together before he could be punished. The bridge is very small so it's probably only worth visiting if the story interests you.
Chikyū 33 BanchiThis monument was constructed at 133
Kochi People's and Liberty MuseumA museum with information about liberty and freedoms in the Tosa Kingdom and the world.
Hamaguchi Osachi HouseThe house of Japan's 27th Prime Minister, Hamaguchi Osachi, who served from 1929 to 1931.
address: 830 Urado-ShiroyamaLocated in Katsurahama, this museum has exhibits related to Sakamoto Ryoma. Many written documents, including a letter written by him just two days prior to his assassination. There are also special exhibitions.
Sekkei-jiaddress: 857-3 NagahamaThe thirty-third temple of the Shikoku Pilgrimage.
GodaisanGodaisan is a mountain in Kochi city between the downtown area and Katsurahama. It is the holy mountain where Chikurin-ji Temple was built and is also now home to one of Japan's best botanical gardens. The look-out area at the top provides scenic views over the surrounding area.
phone: +81 88-882-3085address: 3577 GodaisanThe 31st temple along the 88 Temple Pilgrimage. The temple features a quiet garden, treasure house, and iconic pagoda.
Kochi Prefectural Makino Botanical GardenCelebrating the life and career of Dr. Makino Tomitarou, this botanical garden covers six acres with more than 1,500 plants.
Yosakoi MatsuriAlong with the Awa Odori in Tokushima, the Yosakoi Matsuri is Shikoku's other famous festival and was actually formed out of the Awa Odori as a more modern version in 1954. The Yosakoi festival is highly energetic and all of the dance teams have naruko (click-clacks) which is part of the Yosakoi tradition.
Sunday MarketEvery Sunday rain or shine, Kochi's skilled farmers and fisherman flock to the capital to present their goods. At the market you will find friendly vendors offering everything from antiques to zucchini.
KatsurahamaKatsurahama (桂浜) is Kochi's famous coastal beach. For many, the view alone is reason enough to visit but the area has more to offer. The Sakamoto Ryoma Memorial Museum (see "See" section above) is here as well as a few other interesting things.
Tosa Dog-Fighting CenterTosa dogs are large dogs that are bred in Kochi for the purpose of dog-fighting and ownership of the dogs is actually banned in many countries. The Dog-Fighting Center is where you can come to see the dog fights.
Katsurahama AquariumA small aquarium with a variety of fish, water birds, seals, and dolphins. They also host dolphin and seal shows, along with other animals.
- Katsuo Bushi - Bonito flakes. This is a staple of the Japanese diet and is best in Kochi. It is used as a topping for many dishes and will surely be appreciated by a Japanese friend.
- Katsuo no tataki - This is Kochi's specialty dish and does not taste as good anywhere else! Katsuo is a type of tuna fish which in English is called Bonito. Tataki is the style in which it is prepared. The tataki style means that the fish is held over a fire and cooked only on the outside layer (about 3mm to 1cm deep), leaving the inside of the fish red and raw. After the firing it is cut into thick juicy slices that look like oversized sashimi, and served with sliced garlic and onions, shiso (a Japanese leaf with a distinct and delicious taste), some other garnish, a special sauce that may vary, and of course some fresh wasabi. Once it is at your table clutch a slice with your chop sticks along with a generous portion of the garlic, onions, wasabi etc. Take it all in one bite. Katsuo is best during the Summer and early Fall when the fish arrive off the coast of Kochi after fattening up in the tropics during the winter. Katsuo no tataki can be found in many, many restaurants throughout Kochi Prefecture, but for the cream of the crop go to Kuroson in Kochi City.
- Kuroson is a small sushi restaurant near Ohashi Dori, nestled in a narrow alley just behind the Mos Burger on the East West Densha Dori. On most nights you will need a reservation booked well in advance, but if you are on your own or as a couple, you might get lucky and find a spot on a week day. Ask for Shiyo Tataki, a specialty of Kuroson. It a variation of katsuo no tataki prepared in salt, giving it an even more unforgettable taste. For the bolder among you, ask for chichiko (Katsuo hearts) as an appetizer.
Suigei-teiThis restaurant specializes in all Kochi dishes. They serve the famous katsuo no tataki and other katsuo dishes, as well as foods from other regions of the prefecture, but what this restaurant is really known for, are its whale (kujira) dishes. They offer whale steaks (¥1575), whale bacon (¥1050), and kujira no tataki (¥1365) to name a few.
FujinoyaRated as one of the top katsuo no tataki restaurants by Japanese patrons.
IpponzuriA more affordable way to sample some of Kochi's local dishes. Various katsuo and whale dishes for just ¥1000.
phone: +81 88-824-2030A classy restaurant with excellent katsuo no tataki.
La VitaAn Italian restaurant with a variety of pastas and pizzas.
Gokkun-Umajimura is a famous non-alcoholic drink. It is made of yuzu which is a kind of citrus fruit and is well-known product in Umajimura, Kochi. It tastes sweet-and-sour so that is easy to drink for everyone, from little children to old people. It is sold in every place in Kochi for example Super markets, stations and airport. It's fantastic when mixed with shochu on the rocks.
Hirome MarketHalfway down the arcade is Hirome Market, an indoor collection of food stalls selling everything from Indian curry to fresh fish to big pitchers of beer. Patrons sit on long communal wooden tables, so it's a great place to converse with the locals.
Kochi HorumonServes all the typical beers, chuhai, etc. The ramen dishes are also quite popular.
phone: +81 88-872-8070address: Kuzume Biru 2FServing a nice variety of whiskey, cocktails, brandy, wine, and beers.
Green Hotel Harimayabashiphone: +81 88-822-1800
phone: +81 88-873-2181Located near many of the Sakamoto Ryoma sites, the hotel itself contains a life-size replica of one of Sakamoto Ryoma's robes in the lobby.
address: 4-5 Fukui-higashi-machiAn excellent place to stay, run by a former sake brewer who will, for ¥500, provide a sake tasting workshop. It's a 5-minute walk from JR Engyoujiguchi Station.
phone: +81 12-092-6815
address: 9-4 Obiya-machiA modern Western-style hotel, with clean rooms. Internet access is available at the desk or in the rooms (wired LAN). It's a 15-minute walk from JR Kochi Station.
phone: +81 88-822-0131A nice hotel complete with its own onsen. The onsen costs ¥900 to use. Those who are not staying at the hotel may still come to enjoy the onsen. Just outside the hotel is the historic Yamauchi Residence, which is free.
phone: +81 88-885-5050
phone: +81 88-823-3555
- Nankoku - home of the prefecture's airport and the famous long-tailed roosters
- Kami - location of the famous Ryugado Cave
- Aki - birthplace of Mitsubishi founder Iwasaki Yattarō
- Hidaka - site of the historic Omura Shrine, Saruda Cave, and ruins of Kashiwai Castle
- Sakawa - home to one of Japan's oldest archaeological excavation sites, the Sakawa Basin
- Shimanto - home to Japan's last undammed river, the Shimanto River
- Miyoshi - just north in Tokushima Prefecture, home to Oboke and Koboke and the Iya Valley