Kochi (高知) is a large city in southern Shikoku containing the usual attractions of shrines and a castle, but with a few very unique, and often shocking, tourist spots such as the dog fighting culture.
Budget travel tips
- Make sure you bring and show your passport at the Tourist Information Center outside Kochi station when you buy the MyYuBus (MY游バス) to get a half price day pass. Pick up a free English map here as well, which shows how to get to all the places below. This pass is an essential buy.
- Show this pass at the various attractions and museums for discounts.
Things to do
Designated by the national government as important cultural property, Kochi Castle was originally built in 1603 and rebuilt in 1749. Unlike most castles in Japan, the structures have been all preserved since then, so you can get the real Japanese castle experience!
Price: 420 yen (330 yen with MyYuBus)
Open: 9am to 5pm
Access: Get of at Kochijo-mae tram stop
No. 31 Buddhist Temple and Pagoda (FREE)
One of the famous 88 Buddhist temples that pilgrims travel between in Shikoku, this was a stunning sight. Check out the park and viewpoint nearby for a good view over Kochi.
Price: 400 yen (320 yen with MyYuBus) to enter the building, free outside.
Sakamoto Ryoma Memorial Museum
Excellent museum showing off the history of Kochi and Mr Sakamoto, a well-known peace figure for all Japanese.
Price: 500 yen (400 yen with MyYuBus)
Open: 9am to 5pm
Tosa Dog Park
Ok, so this place did freak us out a bit. At the Tosa Dog Park, visitors are taken into see a dog fighting ring, and get to see some disturbingly unhappy looking dogs. It felt overpriced for what you get to see, but nevertheless was an interesting culture shock.
Price: 700 yen (630 yen with MyYuBus)
Open: Depends on the day, ask at the shop below to reserve a tour on the day.
Katsurahama (FREE beach)
Check out this lovely little beach and do some 5-10 minute hikes nearby to the museum and dog park. Good views of the sea and a good place to chill out on a sunny day.
Great place to try some authentic Kochi food, such as ‘Katsuo no tataki’ (seared bonito), other sushi and sashimi, gyoza and ramen. Open early morning until 11pm.
How to get there
With Japan Rail Pass or Shikoku Rail Pass
From any major city in Shikoku, take a Limited Express train (about hourly). From Takamatsu it takes about 2 hours.
Without a rail pass
JR Shikoku Bus has a range of routes, but Japan Bus Lines is the best way to search for the cheapest buses from all locations. There are routes from all major cities on the main island of Honshu.
Hostels and cheap hotels
Great little friendly hostel and a great place to make friends. Dorm beds are quiet and kept clean. Check prices at Booking.com
More at Booking.com
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