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Tosa Cuisine

There is plenty of dramatic coastal scenery to be found at the far west of the Kochi prefecture at Ashizuri-misaki (in the central-south of the island of Shikoku). Towering marble cliffs and Japan’s first marine park exist here as well as the lush, verdant farmland surrounding the prefecture capital - Kochi.

The town of Kochi was the castle town of what used to be Tosa province (you may hear locals referring to Tosa - especially with regard to the Tosa cuisine) and the small but original castle Kochi-jo still stands. The town itself played a major part in the Meiji restoration of 1868. 

Kochi-jo is unusual in that it did not suffer damage in the last war. The beautiful garden surroundings are worth a detour as is the castle itself. Rather than a gloomy fortress-like building it is bright and colourful offering excellent views back over the town itself.

The town has a subtropical microclimate due to its position and the main industries remain farming and fishing. Streetmarkets are held almost every day here, with the biggest and most colourful on Sunday morning (along Phoenix-dori, the road leading to the castle - see picture right). However it maintains a distinctly cosmopolitan feel with wide boulevards and a network of rivers and canals.

For those looking to spend some time relaxing and enjoying the climate, Katsura-hama (pictured below), a white sandy beach can be reached in 30 minutes by bus from Kochi. It is popular all year round with locals as the swimming is especially excellent.This place is most famous for moon viewing - a favoutite Japanese pastime. As soon as the weather gets milder, couples and friends go to the beach for long talks while having food and drinks until late at night... There are also a few souvenir shops, an aquarium, a museum dedicated to Sakamoto Ryoma, and his statue.

The Tosa fighting dogs originate from this area and the locals hold them in the same high esteem as they do sumo wrestlers. Demonstrations of dog-fighting are held at Tosa Token Centre at Katsura-hama - fights which can best be described as sumo for dogs and not at all the bloodthirsty exhibition you might imagine. (Biting is strictly prohibited) A five minute walk from here will take you to the Sakamoto Ryoma Memorial Museum - dedicated to the region’s most famous son and one of the architects of the Meiji restoration.



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