Left: Dotonbori in Osaka; Right: Shimanto River in Kochi
Partners Information: Discover a Japan less travelled filled with unspoiled nature, delicious food and outdoor adventure in Kochi Prefecture. Located on the southern part of the island of Shikoku, which was voted Best in Travel 2022 by Lonely Planet, Kochi is accessed in around 3 ½ hours from Osaka and 4 hours from Kyoto by train.
Stretching along the Pacific Ocean, Kochi boasts a diverse range of landscapes, from lush valleys to karst-studded plateaus, and beaches surrounded by coral reefs to historical townscapes.
If you’re in Kochi City on a Sunday, check out the city’s iconic Sunday Market, a beloved event with over 300 years of history. Held every Sunday from morning to mid-afternoon, some 300 stalls stretch for 1.3km from Kochi Castle, selling fresh produce, local food and handmade crafts.
Foodies also won’t want to miss visiting Hirome Market, aptly nicknamed ‘Kochi’s Kitchen’. It’s home to around 65 stalls selling all manner of things including souvenirs, drinks and local delicacies such as seared bonito.
Seared bonito at Hirome Market
Adventurous souls can go whitewater rafting down the Yoshino River (host of the 2017 World Rafting Championships), try canyoning and rafting on the Niyodo River or canoe on the Shimanto River.
Around the Shimanto River area visitors can also rent a bicycle from Nakamura Station and cycle to see the unique chinkabashi (submersible bridges without side rails), try ‘river meditation’ with Iwamoto-ji Temple and even create a hand forged knife.
Whitewater rafting through Oboke Gorge
For a more laid-back beach escape, head to the coral-studded coastlines around Kashiwajima Island and Oki Beach where you can go snorkelling and marvel at the vibrant marine life.
A rental car is a great option for exploring Kochi at your own pace but there are plenty of interesting spots just a train ride away from the city centre. Take a day trip to the well-preserved traditional fishing village of Kure to indulge in freshly caught seafood, wander the charming town of Sakawa filled with traditional buildings or check out the former castle town of Aki and explore laneways lined with former samurai residences.
Don’t know where to start? Check out sample itineraries on the newly launched ‘Osaka to Kochi’ site: Adventure Expedition Route, Rural Expedition Route, Blue Expedition Route and Driver’s Expedition Route.