Explore These 3 Beautiful Viewpoints in Japan’s Kochi Prefecture

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  • Kochi Prefecture (高知県) is located on the small island of Shikoku (四国). It is formerly known as Tosa (土佐), and is popular for Kochi Castle (高知城), which is one of the 12 remaining castles in Japan. Kochi’s major food item is katsuo no tataki (鰹のたたき), a slightly broiled sliced bonito over a straw fire. Other popular foods include sake and yuzu citrus. It is rich in beautiful nature and historical places which are worth visiting. Try exploring these three beautiful viewpoints in the natural area of Kochi.

    1. Shikoku Karst Natural Park (四国カルスト県立自然公園)

    Shikoku Karst

    This park resulted from the erosion of a limestone mountain and has since been considered one of Japan’s three largest karst landscapes. The area is quite charming as it commands a panoramic pastoral view.

    If you visit the park, you can enjoy the sprawling fields and idyllic scenery with grazing sheep and cattle. You’ll also see limestone sticking out from the earth. It straddles the towns of Niyodogawa (仁淀川), Tsuno (津野), and Yusuhara (梼原), as well as the areas around Tengu Plateau (天狗高原) and Jiyoshi Pass (地芳トンネル). Tengu Plateau is an area where milk cows are pastured and has beautiful scenery which can be enjoyed in all seasons. It has grasslands in spring, alpine plants in summer, silver grass and autumnal leaves in fall and snowy landscapes in winter.

    You can enjoy a meal at a restaurant by stopping by Kogen Fureai no Ie Tenguso (高原ふれあいの家 天狗荘) so you can feel your stress and worries melting away.

    Shikoku Karst Natural Park Website
    Shikoku Karst Natural Park Access

    2. Ryuga Cave (龍河洞)

    Ryuga Cave

    This is one of Japan’s best-known limestone caves, which took approximately 175 million years to form. It is also designated by the government as a natural monument or historical site. Though it is roughly four kilometers in length, just one kilometer of the cave is open to the public but you can this is the perfect spot for viewing some mysterious scenery.

    Near the exit, you can see remains of the cave-dwelling communities. This includes the Yayoi (弥生) earthenware covered with calcareous sinter known as the “divine pot.” You can also take the Adventure Course which is so small that it becomes necessary for you to kneel down in order to go forward. This is done by reservation at least one day in advance. The cave is normally open from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

    Ryuga Cave Website
    Ryuga Cave Access

    3. Shimanto River (四万十川)

    Shimanto River

    This is the longest river in Shikoku and is known as “Japan’s last remaining limpid stream.” Residents here live in harmony with the river during every season.

    The river winds its way through the southwest of the prefecture. The river measures 196 kilometers in length and is known for its clear, transparent and beautiful water. Expect pure water to flow along the entire length of the river as there are no dams.

    A local attraction in this area is the submersible bridge called Chinkabashi (沈下橋). This bridge has no railings and is located close to the river’s mouth. Having no guardrails reduces resistance and prevents the bridge from being washed away in times of flood. Many tourists come to the place to experience the low-water crossing. There’s also a certain part of the river where you can view ancient fishing techniques such as To-ami (投網) and Hiburi-ryo (火振り漁). To-ami is a technique of throwing a cast net over a school of ayu fish. Hiburi-ryo is a night fishing technique where flaming torches are carried on fishing boats and are being waved above the water to drive the fish into nets.

    Shimanto River Website
    Shimanto River Access

    Being a mountainous place that is rich in history, Kochi Prefecture is surely a quiet charm in Japan. These three beautiful viewpoints would make you want to enjoy the trip by yourself or with friends!

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