Kochi City is one of the major cities in Shikoku, the fourth biggest island in Japan. The city is located on the Kagami-gawa river delta, at the head of Urado Bay. Kochi is the center of the prefecture, and its population hovers around 320,000. Kochi Castle dominates the center of the city, and Harimaya-bashi bridge is famous for its red lacquer railings which are retained to this day. There are also several famous ruins within the city itself. The city’s trams are affectionately known as ‘Toden’ and are a favorite method of transport for citizens of Kochi and visitors.
Following the Battle of Sekigahara in 1600, Kochi Castle was constructed in what was then the Tosa province. It was built by the feudal lord Yamanouchi Kazutoyo, who took control of the province after Tokugawa’s victory. The castle was completed in 1611 after 10 years of construction. Much of the original fortress burned down in 1727 and it was reconstructed between 1729 and 1753 in the original style.
Though no battles were fought at the castle, it is noteworthy because the castle has retained its original structure and is not a post-war replica like many other castles in Japan. It is also the only castle in Japan to retain both its original main keep and its palace.
The entrance fee is 420 yen for adults over 18 years old, and it is free for kids under 18.
Harimaya-bashi is a 20 meter-long bridge located in the center of the city. It was originally constructed during the Edo period. The name came from a wealthy merchant called Harimaya. There was another wealthy merchant named Hitsuya, and these two merchant offices were separated by the moat, so they made a bridge to be able to conduct their business. It has become a landmark because of its vivid red-colored railing. Because of the heavy traffic, the bridge has become a stone bridge, and they reconstructed the original style bridge in the nearby Harimaya-bashi Park.
At Urado Bay in the south of the city is Katsurahama Beach. This spot is famous for the pleasant contrast between the beach’s pine tree forests and rocky coastal scenery. The statue of Sakamoto Ryoma, who contributed greatly to the Meiji Restoration in the late 19th century, is a famous spot on the beach.
Kochi Shopping Districts
Obiya-machi is an arcade that runs through the city, and Kyo-machi is a shopping street with many shops selling high-quality decorations made from coral.
Plane: From Haneda Airport to Kochi Ryoma Airport
Train: From Tokyo station, Shinkansen to Okayama, then express train to Kochi (6 hours)