There are some places in Japan which boast casual atmosphere and a dose of southern flair. One popular place for this is Kochi City, the capital of Kochi Prefecture. It has several attractions of interest for travelers. The city is proud of its original hilltop castle from the feudal period (Kochi Castle) and a mountain with a Buddhist temple and botanical garden (Mount Godaisan).
Kochi castle is one of the 12 castles in Japan which survived catastrophes such as fires and wars. The castle was built in 1601 by Yamanouchi Kazutuyo as a part of the move from Urado to the more defensible Otakasa area. It has been designated as an important cultural property which holds local treasures and historical objects. Apart from that the castle has one very unique feature: its main tower was not only used for military purposes but also served as a residence. Usually, lords live separately from the castle keep. If you happen to see the castle’s wooden interior, it maintains an appearance of Edo Period origins and the castle’s tower offers a breathtaking view of the downtown area.
Mount Godaisan is a small mountain in the east of Kochi’s downtown. The name was given by a Buddhist priest who came from China. Here they established the Chikurinji or Shigon Temple. It is said to have been founded by Gyoki, a Japanese Buddhist priest, in the early 8th century. Since then, it has become an important stop in the Shikoku Pilgrimage. This serves as number 31 of the 88 temples visited during the event.
Not far from it is Makino Botanical Garden. A spacious garden named after Dr. Makino Tomitaro, a botanist from Kochi. It includes extensive walking paths, outdoor parks, a greenhouse and many large museum halls providing excellent information on Dr. Makino and his field of study.
With such beautiful sites so close from each other, you will never ever regret visiting this area. The ancient feel tied to great information is wondrous in its nature. So what are you waiting for? Pack your bags and go on a trip to Kochi City now!
Want To Follow the Past? Ohenro 88 Temple Pilgrimage