Region
Shikoku
Island
Shikoku
Largest City
Kochi
Population
813,980

Kochi

Into the wild

Wild and rebellious, Kochi is one of Japan’s most rewarding off-the-beaten-track destinations.

In the past, Kochi’s inaccessible landscape meant it was cut off from the rest of Japan. It allowed the prefecture to form a distinct personality as strong and untamed as its natural surroundings.

Kochi people are resilient, self-reliant, and just a little rebellious. They’re known for their drinking stamina, championed by assertive hachikin women, disdain for materialism, and, most of all, a love of the great outdoors.

Whale-watching, surfing, hiking, fishing, caving, paragliding, and paddle-boarding are just some of the outdoor activities on offer. Kochi also makes up the most challenging part of the Shikoku 88 Temple Pilgrimage.

Kochi Castle

Visit one of Japan's last surviving original castles.

Crescent-shaped Kochi is the largest of Shikoku’s four prefectures. It covers most of the island’s southern half in rugged mountains that slope into the Pacific Ocean. Most of the population is clustered together around the Shimanto River and towards the coast. Kochi City, in the center of the prefecture, is the best place to start exploring the region. Visit the emblematic Kochi Castle, browse the stalls of the 300-year-old Sunday street market, and stroll along Katsurahama beach. It’s guarded by a statue of everyone’s favorite samurai rebel, Sakamoto Ryoma.

To the east lies the dramatic Cape Muroto. On your way, you can stop by Ryuga Cave, a limestone cave formed over 175 million years. Explore the main chambers on foot or by crawling your way through the inner sections on the adventure course. Head to the tip of the peninsula for whale-watching and surfing, using picturesque Kiragawa with its traditional streets and yuzu-filled hot spring baths as a base.

The great outdoors

Shimanto River in Kochi, Japan.

The Shimanto River has beautiful turquoise water.

The Shimanto River runs through the western part of Kochi. Shimanto is the place to organize your outdoor activities, as well as witness traditional torchlight fishing in the summer and hit up the ski slopes in the winter. Along the coast are more dolphin and whale-watching cruises, plus surfing and hot springs. Remote and desolate Cape Ashizuri offers panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean, especially from temple no. 38 on the Shikoku 88 Temple Pilgrimage.

Set aside enough time to get to know Kochi’s incredible food. The seared bonito (katsuo no tataki) is a highlight, as is the pork and wild mountain vegetables. Yuzu is the local fruit, and you can’t leave without challenging a local to Kochi’s infamous sake drinking game, bekuhai.

Kochi invites everyone to join them in this pristine, welcoming, and healing place.

A uniquely remote getaway, Kochi offers several tours and is an appealing option for travelers coming to Japan for various activities. Active travelers can cycle, enjoy river activities, or relax. Families can laugh as they play in the river, and couples can reconnect and talk over delicious, locally sourced food. Lone travelers can disconnect from all the bustle for just a few precious moments or days. Kochi invites everyone to join them in this pristine, welcoming, and healing place.

Discover Kochi from the links below!

Places to visit

Ekin Museum

Explore the bloody and violent world of Ekin at this tiny museum in Kochi.

Sea salt adventure in Kochi.

Saltybe Sea Salt Making Workshop

Don’t be salty — appreciate the gifts of the sea and take a little Kochi home with you after this interactive workshop.


Tatsukushi Marine Park

Unreal rock formations make Kochi’s coast a photogenic, beachy hideaway.

Shimanto River

Cycle along Kochi's rugged mountain ranges, take out an old-school sailboat and camp by one of the clearest rivers in Japan.


Niyodo Blue

Niyodo River, Nikobuchi Waterfall and Nakatsu Gorge

Witness the purest of waters, a sacred power spot and the amazing ‘Niyodo Blue.’

Chojuan food Final kochi

Chojuan Inn

Live and bathe like the locals — in a cauldron — at this historic and tattoo-friendly spot.


Washi-room kochi

Kamikoya Washi Studio

This guesthouse-studio hybrid is redefining cultural exchange in the Japanese countryside.

kochi sunday market

Kochi Sunday Market

Fewer tourists, more sashimi and don't forget the citrus!


Katsurahama

Kochi's beautiful bayside experience.

Usa Shiokaze Park

Whale watching along Kochi's magnificent coast.


Hirome Market

Get to know the real Kochi at this fantastically friendly indoor market and izakaya.

Ryugadou Cave

Explore the underground depths of Kochi's prehistoric past.


Kochi Yosakoi

Kochi Castle

What’s that coming over the hill? It’s Kochi Castle!


Makino Botanical Gardens

Flora, fauna and fascination at these lovely botanical gardens.

Other Destinations in Shikoku

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