After Yamanouchi Kazutoyo (1546-1605) became the lord of the Tosa domain in 1601, the city started to develop as a castle town of Kochi Castle in the Tosa domain. Kochi Castle, located in the center of the city, began to be constructed in 1601 and was mostly completed in 1603. The disastrous fire of 1727 destroyed much of the fortress except Ote-mon Gate. But, by 1753 it was restored to its original style. Since then, it has survived several crises such as natural disasters and the Pacific War and has kept its beautiful figure down to the present day. On Sundays, a guided tour in English is available.
One of Japan’s largest open-air markets is held here every Sunday. About 500 shops line up along Ote-suji Street, stretching about 1.3 km from beside Kochi Castle to near Densha-dori Street. You can find various foods and goods such as fresh vegetables, seafood, kitchen knives, ceramics, and so on.
Katsura-hama beach, located 35 minutes from JR Kochi Station by bus, is a scenic spot where you can get a splendid view of the Pacific Ocean. A statue of the famous historical hero, Sakamoto Ryoma (1835-1867), stands here. He played an important role in opening up modern Japan at the end of the Edo era. Although about 140 years have passed since his death, there are still many of his admirers all over Japan. You may also like to stop by at the Sakamoto Ryoma Memorial Museum. From the end of April to mid-October, a whale-watching tour boat is available from nearby Urado fishing port.
Kochi’s famous bonito is something you should definitely try. Especially katsuo-no-tataki, chopped bonito, with its surface roasted with straw-smoke has a nice texture and crispy savory skin that you will love. At Hirome-ichiba market, you can enjoy katsuo-no-tataki as well as dishes made with Kochi’s local chicken along with Japanese sake at a reasonable price. The dish Sawachi-ryori is also a Kochi’s specialty, featuring sashimi, sushi, and other foods served on a huge plate called sawachi.
Every year from August 9 to 12, the Yosakoi Matsuri festival is held. It is Kochi’s major festival in which hundreds of teams of dancers crowd the streets to perform various Yosakoi dances all around the city. You will be impressed with the dynamic performances, brightly colored costumes, and loud music. This Yosakoi festival originated in Kochi is now being held all over Japan as YOSAKOI, as for example you can see in Sapporo City’s Yosakoi Soran festival in mid-June.