Kochi, Japan | Cruise port of call | CruiseBe
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Kochi, Japan

Kōchi (高知市, Kōchi-shi) is the capital city of Kōchi Prefecture located on the island of Shikoku in Japan.

Kōchi is the main city of the prefecture with over 40% of its population. As of May 31, 2008, the city has an estimated population of 340,515 and a population density of 1,100 persons per km2. The total area is 309.22 km2. A symbol of the city is its most famous dish, katsuo tataki, made by lightly searing and seasoning tuna.

Geography and climate

The area of Kōchi has three distinct geographic sections. The major settled part of the city lies at the head of Urado Bay, in a narrow alluvial plain crossed by several rivers, notably the Kagami River and Kokubu River. The plain is bounded by mountains to the north and a range of hills to the south and west.
The northern mountains... Read more

Kochi, Japan


Kōchi (高知市, Kōchi-shi) is the capital city of Kōchi Prefecture located on the island of Shikoku in Japan.

Kōchi is the main city of the prefecture with over 40% of its population. As of May 31, 2008, the city has an estimated population of 340,515 and a population density of 1,100 persons per km2. The total area is 309.22 km2. A symbol of the city is its most famous dish, katsuo tataki, made by lightly searing and seasoning tuna.

Geography and climate

The area of Kōchi has three distinct geographic sections. The major settled part of the city lies at the head of Urado Bay, in a narrow alluvial plain crossed by several rivers, notably the Kagami River and Kokubu River. The plain is bounded by mountains to the north and a range of hills to the south and west.
The northern mountains form the least densely populated part of the city, with the only settlement being along narrow river valleys. The highest point in Kōchi is Kuishi-yama at 1,176 meters (3,858 ft).

To the south of the city center, Urado Bay cuts through the hills to its outlet into the Pacific Ocean. The land surrounding the bay and a small strip of the coastline form the third part of the city. This area, although hillier and less dense than the plain, is nevertheless a major location of housing and port-related industry.

Kōchi has a very wet humid subtropical climate (Köppen climate classification Cfa), receiving twice as much rainfall as Shikoku’s other chief cities Matsuyama and Takamatsu. It is also the most typhoon-prone of Japan’s major cities owing to its location directly exposed to the open Pacific Ocean from which the storms enter the country, and has twice received over 50 cm (20 in) of rainfall in a day from a typhoon.

Kōchi Castle still exists in its pre-restoration form and is one of the main tourist attractions. Other places of interest in the city center are the Obiyamachi (帯屋町) shopping arcade, the regular Sunday street markets which are close to a kilometer in length, and Harimaya-bashi (はりまや橋), a bridge that featured in a famous Kōchi song about the forbidden love of a Buddhist priest.

The mountain Godaisan (五台山) holds a public park with views of the city and is home to stop 31 on the Shikoku Pilgrimage, Chikurin-ji, as well as the

Makino Botanical Garden

. Temples 30 (Zenrakuji) and 33 (Sekkeiji) are also in the city. The Shinto Shrine Tosa jinja is located to the west. Off Museum Road (Kenritsu Bijutsukandori) is the

The Museum of Art

, Kōchi, where the main collection is composed of expressionistic works related to Kōchi. The Former Yamauchi Residence and Tosa Yamauchi Family Treasury and Archives are also to be found in the city.

At the mouth of Urado Bay, the remnants of Urado Castle (an earlier provincial seat) stand above Katsurahama (桂浜), a famous beach with an aquarium and statue of the Kōchi hero Sakamoto Ryōma. Nearby on the grounds is the Sakamoto Ryōma Memorial Museum.

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Kochi, Japan: Port Information

Cruise travelers are welcomed with an exciting ceremony. There is a tourist information center.
Usually, companies offer shuttle service to the bus terminal.
Besides, taxis are available at the dock.

Get around Kochi, Japan

By Car
You can easily explore Kochi by car.

By Tram
Kochi has trams running south from Kochi Station and east-west along Route 32.

By Bicycle
The streets are wide and traffic fairly light compared to most Japanese cities. Watch out for cyclists riding the wrong way into traffic.
The tourist information desk in the building just outside Kochi Station has a limited number of bicycles (perhaps a dozen?) that they will rent out for free for the day to tourists (just bring them back by 5 pm). The bikes are the usual single-gear kind, ideal for getting from the station to the castle and generally pottering around the town.

What to see in Kochi, Japan

  • Kochi Castle (高知城), 2-1-1 Marunouchi (Tram to Kochi-jo Mae), ☎ +81 0888-24-5701. 9AM-5PM. Kochi Castle is one of the few original white castles in Japan. Access to the castle grounds is free, and the entrance fee to enter the castle is well worthwhile. The views from the castle are spectacular. 
  • Former Yamauchi Samurai Residences (旧山内家下屋敷長屋). This row of houses was built as lodgings for samurai at the end of the Edo period. It's tucked away near a bridge over the river just south of the castle (and not at all signposted, so make sure you pick up a map from the tourist office beforehand!). It doesn't take very long to look round, but free entry makes this an excellent addition if you're visiting the castle. A couple of the houses have small exhibitions including a set of models of various styles of the Japanese ship. Free. 
  • Kochi Prefectural Museum of Art (高知県立美術館), 353-2 Takasu (Tram to Kenritsu Bijutsukandori), ☎ +81 0888-66-8000. 9AM-5PM. Art by Japanese and foreign artists, including Marc Chagall. Noh plays are held in the museum hall. 
  • Tosa Shrine. The shrine's origins are unknown but it was mentioned in both the Kojiki and Nihon-shoki, the first written records of Japanese history. 
  • Sakamoto Ryoma's Hometown Museum, ☎ 088-820-1115. 8AM-7PM (museum shop closes at 6:30). The 2-floor museum features information and artifacts from Sakamoto Ryoma, his family, and Kochi city during the days when he lived here. 
  • Harimayabashi Bridge (はりまや橋). A bridge made famous by a story that took place here; a young monk had a secret affair with a woman but one day he was seen by the bridge buying a hairpin which was a telltale sign that he had a lover. Because monks were not allowed to be romantically involved with anyone, he and the woman fled together before he could be punished. The bridge is very small so it's probably only worth visiting if the story interests you. Free. 
  • Chikyu 33 Banchi. This monument was constructed at 133*33'33"East Longituge, 33*33'33" North Latitude, marking the unique spot where 33 appears consecutively in all six markers. There are only 9 other places in the world where such a thing occurs and this is the only one that can be easily reached by public transport. 
The My-Yu bus (MY遊バス) service runs from the north side of JR Kochi Station. The bus stops at 3 locations on Mt. Godaisan and continues on to Katsurahama (both below).
  • Mount Godaisan, 4378 Godaisan. Godaisan Park is located near Chikurinji (竹林寺) (8:30AM-5PM), the 31st temple along the 88 Temple Pilgrimage. The park gives beautiful views of the city and can be paired with a visit to the Makino Botanical Garden.  
  • Kochi People's and Liberty Museum (自由民権記念館). A museum with information about liberty and freedoms in the Tosa Kingdom and the world. 
  • Hamaguchi Osachi House (浜口雄幸生家記念館), ☎ 088-823-9457. The house of Japan's 27th Prime Minister, Hamaguchi Osachi, who served from 1929 to 1931. 
  • Kochi Prefectural Makino Botanical Garden (高知県立牧野植物園), ☎ +81 0888-82-2601. 9AM-5PM. Celebrating the life and career of Dr. Makino Tomitarou, this botanical garden covers six acres with more than 1,500 plants. 
  • Sakamoto Ryoma Memorial Museum, 830 Urado-Shiroyama. Located in Katsurahama, this museum has exhibits related to Sakamoto Ryoma. Many written documents, including a letter written by him just two days prior to his assassination. There are also special exhibitions.

What to do in Kochi, Japan

  • Yosakoi Matsuri (よさこい祭り), ☎ 088-823-9457. Held annually from Aug. 9-12. Along with the Awa Odori in Tokushima, the Yosakoi Matsuri is Shikoku's other famous festival and was actually formed out of the Awa Odori as a more modern version in 1954. The Yosakoi festival is highly energetic and some of the dance teams have naruko (click-clacks) which is part of the Yosakoi tradition.  
  • Sunday Market (日曜市 Nichiyo Ichi). Every Sunday rain or shine, Kochi's skilled farmers and fisherman flock to the capital to present their goods. At the market, you will find friendly vendors offering everything from antiques to zucchini.  

Katsurahama (桂浜) is Kochi's famous coastal beach. For many, the view alone is reason enough to visit but the area has more to offer. The Sakamoto Ryoma Memorial Museum is here as well as a few other interesting things.
  • Tosa Dog-Fighting Center (土佐闘犬センター). Tosa dogs are large dogs that are bred in Kochi for the purpose of dog-fighting and ownership of the dogs is actually banned in many countries. The Dog-Fighting Center is where you can come to see the dog fights.
  • Katsurahama Aquarium (桂浜水族館), ☎ 088-841-2437. A small aquarium with a variety of fish, water birds, seals, and dolphins. They also host dolphin and seal shows, along with other animals.

What to eat and drink in Kochi, Japan


  • Katsuo no tataki - This is Kochi's specialty dish and does not taste as good anywhere else! Katsuo is a type of tuna fish which in English is called Bonito. Tataki is the style in which it is prepared. The tataki style means that the fish is held over a fire and cooked only on the outside layer (about 3mm to 1cm deep), leaving the inside of the fish red and raw. After the firing, it is cut into thick juicy slices that look like oversized sashimi, and served with sliced garlic and onions, shiso (a Japanese leaf with a distinct and delicious taste), some other garnish, a special sauce that may vary, and of course some fresh wasabi. Once it is at your table clutch a slice with your chopsticks along with a generous portion of the garlic, onions, wasabi etc. Take it all in in one bite. Katsuo is best during the Summer and early Fall when the fish arrive off the coast of Kochi after fattening up in the tropics during the winter. Katsuo no tataki can be found in many, many restaurants throughout Kochi Prefecture, but for the cream of the crop go to Kuroson in Kochi City.
  • Kuroson is a small sushi restaurant near Ohashi Dori, nestled in a narrow alley just behind the Mos Burger on the East West Densha Dori. On most nights you will need a reservation booked well in advance, but if you are on your own or as a couple, you might get lucky and find a spot on a weekday. Ask for Shiyo Tataki, a specialty of Kuroson. It a variation of katsuo no tataki prepared in salt, giving it an even more unforgettable taste. For the bolder among you, ask for chichiko (Katsuo hearts) as an appetizer.


  • Denizens of Kochi drink a lot; see the prefecture article for the full scoop. Gokkun-Umajimura is a famous non-alcoholic drink. It is made of yuzu which is a kind of citrus fruit and is a well-known product in Umajimura, Kochi. It tastes sweet-and-sour so that is easy to drink for everyone, from little children to old people. It is sold in every place in Kochi, for example, supermarkets, stations, and airport. It's fantastic when mixed with shochu on the rocks.
  • Hirome Market. Halfway down the arcade is Hirome Market, an indoor collection of food stalls selling everything from Indian curry to fresh fish to big pitchers of beer. Patrons sit on long communal wooden tables, so it's a great place to converse with the locals.


Shopping in Kochi, Japan

​Katsuo Bushi - Bonito flakes. This is a staple of the Japanese diet and is best in Kochi. It is used as a topping for many dishes and will surely be appreciated by a Japanese friend.

Safety in Kochi, Japan

In general, Kochi is safe. Nevertheless, you should take precautions just like in any other city in the world. 
Pickpockets may occur, so watch your personal belongings. 

Language spoken in Kochi, Japan

Japanese is the main language. English is widely spoken in tourist places. 


4:50 am
May 29, 2022


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