Itinerary - Kochi City in a Day
The best way to begin your adventure through Kochi is by starting here at Harimaya-bashi Bridge. Though in terms of size it’s rather humble (only 20 meters in length) the bridge has long become a Kochi icon. Vibrant red and sitting right in the heart of Kochi City, it’s said this bridge was built during the Edo period (1603 to 1868) to ease the traffic between two popular stores, Harimaya and Hitsuya which sat on opposite sides of the Hori River. Over the years a lot has changed and the bridge has been torn down and rebuilt, it now stands tall in the middle of quaint little park.
You can’t visit Kochi without making the pilgrimage to the famous Kochi landmark, Kochi Castle. One of Japan’s only 12 remaining castles, it was first constructed between 1601 and 1611, and largely rebuilt in 1748. Having survived centuries of wars fires and natural disasters, the castle still stands tall and proud, waiting for you to explore inside. One of the more unique aspects of this castle was that the main keep (known as the donjon) was also used as a place of residence as well as for more typical military purposes. If it’s a Sunday it’s worth heading over to Kochi’s 400-year-old Sunday market when you’re in the area.
By now it’s close to lunch and you’ll need to fuel up for the rest of your adventure. Make your way to Kochi’s popular community gathering spot and culinary hub, Hirome Market. Here sits an eclectic collection of around 60 different vendors selling a variety of local and a more out there dishes. Filled with long tables that run through the middle, here you can grab whatever catches your eye and eat it on site. If you can’t choose what to eat, the local specialty is Katsuo no tataki (seared bonito).
After lunch it’s time to learn a little more about the history of this diverse city at the Museum of Art, Kochi. Built using traditional techniques, the museum’s walls are finished with locally crafted Tosa plaster and the roof is covered in Tosa tiles. The gallery is free to enter and offers plenty to explore. There are exhibition rooms, as well as a well-stocked art library and music shop. Attached to the building is also a hall where movies are often screened and live performances are hosted.
Once you’re done, it’s time to head back to central Kochi to grab something to eat and maybe even try out one of Kochi’s popular drinking games at a local restaurant or izakaya. Kochi is also known as the Land of Sake because they brew some of the best sake in Japan right here. Playing drinking games with sake is a very popular - though sometimes dangerous - local pastime. One game they have here is called Bekuhai, which features three different types of cups that cannot be put down until they’re been drained of their sake. The person who the spinning top points to must empty the cup designated by the spinning top. Good luck!
- Harimaya Bridge
- Kouchi Pref. Kouchishi Harimayachou 1