With remote mountain temples, hidden valleys, dramatic rivers and tropical beaches, along with a fascinating history and mouth-watering cuisine, whether you are looking to unplug or in search of adventure, Kochi is the perfect escape.
Kochi Prefecture makes up most of the southern half of the island of Shikoku. Three mighty rivers –– the 196km-long, dam-free Shimanto River, the Niyodo River which is renowned as Japan’s clearest and for its incredible sapphire blue and emerald green pools and the rafting hotspot of the Yoshino River which runs from the Iya Valley –– carve their way through the densely-forested mountains that make up almost 90% of the prefecture. Add to this, miles and miles of dynamic Pacific Ocean coastline and pristine beaches, and you can well imagine that Kochi is a nature-lovers paradise.
Kochi’s natural bounty makes for a rich and diverse food culture, central to which is the prefecture's signature dish, freshly caught katsuo bonito, flash-seared over rice straw and seasoned with garlic, onion, sea salt and citrus. The people of Kochi are known for their down-to-earth and welcoming nature and any lingering shyness is soon forgotten after a little lubrication (Kochi is famous for its love of sake).
Sixteen of the Shikoku 88 Temple Pilgrimage temples are located in Kochi and this part of the pilgrimage is known for its arduously long coastal sections. Whether you travel on foot or use more speedy forms of transport, some of the route’s most picturesque stops, as well as important sites connected with the Buddhist monk Kukai, who is credited with establishing the pilgrimage, can be visited in Kochi.
Kochi is a dish best served slow, rewarding those who like to truly immerse themselves in a destination when they travel. Play hard or chill out, once you switch to “Kochi time” it can be hard to return to reality.