When people think of Kochi Prefecture, the Pacific Ocean is often the first thing that comes to mind. This is only fitting because the ocean plays an important part in the identity of the region. Kochi has some of the best surfing in Japan and enthusiasts from all over the country come to experience it.
Kochi City is the capital of the prefecture and its favorite son is Ryoma Sakamoto. This Edo era figure lives on in the hearts and minds of the Japanese people as a revolutionary figure who tried to bring Japan into the modern era but died young before seeing in take place. To get a real feel for his life, visit the Ryoma Sakamoto Memorial Museum in the city.
Kochi is probably best explained through its nature. The Shimanto River in Shimanto City is said to be the last undammed river in Japan. This maintains an environment of clear water and excellent fishing. It is a very popular place for river-trekking and camping, with campers literally following its course, setting up camp for a while, then moving on.
The inland towns are next to the Shikoku Mountains and are deeply involved in agriculture livestock production. The coastal towns and cities are connected to the fishing industry.
Paper-making is a highly regarded industry in Japan and Kochi is no exception. The Japanese Paper Museum in Ino Town proudly displays examples of Japanese handmade washi paper.
One example of the living culture of the prefecture is the Tosa Kagura Dance which takes place at shrines throughout Kochi. The dancers wear terrifying wigs and masks and take on the persona of gods and demons. Kagura are ancient performances that are thought to welcome the gods to this world. They re-enact legendary battles and intrigue from the time of creation.
Kochi Prefecture will challenge your expectations!