Shikoku Karst is one of Japan’s three largest karst landforms, an area of limestone that has been carved by erosion to create cone-shaped sinkholes (found along the Tengu Plateau and Jiyoshi Pass) and other geological formations.
Kochi Prefecture and its capital city of Kochi face the Pacific Ocean on Shikoku’s southern coast, and travelers to this lesser-visited corner of western Japan will be treated to superb natural beauty, exciting festivals, and lots of friendly sake-loving locals.
TOKYO (NARITA) TO Kochi
Things to Do in Kochi
Located on the tip of the Muroto Peninsula in eastern Kochi Prefecture, the Muroto UNESCO Global Geopark was established as a place of international geological significance, with numerous features that tell the story of the area’s earthquake-filled past, when subduction of the oceanic plate caused uplifting of the peninsula over the course of thousands of years.
Mt. Godai, or Godaisan, is home to Chikurin-ji Temple and Makino Botanical Garden, and is also known as one of the best spots in Kochi City to enjoy cherry blossoms and azaleas in spring, and fall colors in fall.
One of the most comprehensive botanical gardens in Japan, Makino Botanical Garden opened in 1958 to honor the achievements of the world renowned botanist from Kochi, Dr. Tomitaro Makino (1862-1957).
Bonito are a staple part of Kochi food culture. The most famous dish is called katsuo no tataki. Freshly sliced bonito is placed on skewers, the skin is seared over a fire, and then cooled with ice. The sliced fish is commonly eaten with sauce and garnishes such as garlic and onion, but even in Kochi this varies greatly by area.
This open-air market in Kochi City has been held continuously for more than 300 years, since the Edo Period. Open from early morning to evening of every Sunday, the market is held on one lane of the main street extending from Kochi Castle’s Otemon main gate.
Formed over the course of 175 million years, Ryugado Cave (also known as “Ryuga Cave”) is one of Japan’s best-known limestone caves and has been designated a natural monument and historical site. Of the cave’s 4km length about one kilometer is open to the public.