高知県 KochiHello, everyone! We will introduce Kochi Prefecture, the birthplace of Ryoma Sakamoto and Taisuke Itagaki, who led the Freedom and People’s Rights Movement. John Manjiro, the main character of the novel that the Intermediate Class is currently reading, was born in the Tosa Province, which is now Kochi Prefecture.
Located in the southern part of Shikoku Island, Kochi Prefecture has the largest forest area in Japan with 84 % of the entire prefecture surrounded by wood. Since the Black Current flows in the Pacific Ocean on the south side of the prefecture while the north side is dominated by the Shikoku Mountains, Kochi is blessed with its rich natural environment. By taking advantage of the mild climate with abundant sunlight, a greenhouse horticultural agriculture has developed into what the prefecture is now being called “The Kingdom of Horiculture.” Kochi ranks first in the annual yield amount of Japanese ginger, eggplant, Chinese chive, ginger, and sweet green pepper. It is also one of the biggest producers of cucumber, green pepper, and okra. Above all, the most prominent specialty of Kochi is skipjack tuna. Kochi is renowned for the pole-and-line fishing of skipjack tuna, in which we can enjoy fresh and delicious skipjack tuna dishes such as skipjack tuna bowl, lightly roasted skipjack tuna, and skipjack tuna shabu-shabu.
Due to the rich nature of Kochi Prefecture, there are many tourist attractions, such as the Ryuga Cave, one of the three largest limestone caves in Japan; the Inoki Cave, where the ferns and sculptures create a mysterious atmosphere; and also the Ashizuri Cape, which earned two stars in the Michelin Green Guide Japon. Among them, the most famous is the Shimanto River. With 196 kilometers long, it is the longest river in Shikoku Island. Since it does not have a large dam at the mainstream, it is called “The last clear stream river in Japan,” which boat tour activities such as rafting can be enjoyed. It starts at the low water crossing (a bridge with no handrail that sinks underwater when the tide is high) which is one of the highlights of Shimanto River, and you can experience the gentle or the thrilling powerful flows, as well as many more wonders of the river.
“Yosakoi,” which is now spreading to not only across Japan but to the world, originally started in Kochi Prefecture with an aim for economic recovery and regional activation to blow away the recession. The original feature of Yosakoi was that people danced while holding clappers, a tool hanged in fields to drive away sparrows, in both hands. The unique style and free dance is the base of Kochi’s Yosakoi Festival, which has been celebrated for over 50 years.
A prefecture full of charm, Kochi waits for you!