The statue of Sakamoto in the Sakamoto Ryoma Memorial Museum in Kochi, Japan
A bronze statue of Sakamoto Ryoma — an Edo-period patriot who brought about the Meiji Restoration — peacefully overlooks the blue Pacific ocean from the picturesque Katsurahama Beach. Although you can't swim here (the currents are too strong), you can wander the shore and visit the nearby Sakamoto Ryoma Memorial Museum.
The Kochi castle in Kochi, Japan
Unlike most castles in Japan, Kochi Castle is an original and not a restoration. One of 12 castles that survived the feudal period, its historical significance radiates from the walls built in 1601. The castle is a short bus ride or 25-minute walk from the main city station, and it offers of a panoramic view of the city and landscape from its top level.
An hour outside of Kochi city center, Niyodo river has the cleanest, clearest blue water you've ever seen. Around 124 kilometers long, its startlingly transparent waters consistently rank among the purest in Japan. Cruise to Kochi and experience the waters on a yakatabune, a traditional Japanese houseboat, or walk through the cool valley.
In Kochi, freshly caught bonito fish are expertly filleted, wrapped in straw and seared over white-hot coals. The seared fish are gently sliced into sashimi and served with a salt or citrus dressing. Called tatakai, this dish is best enjoyed at one of the food stalls of Hirome Ichiba marketplace.
Escape the summer heat or rain by walking through the covered Obiyamachi Ichibangai Shopping Street. With everything from food to delicate trinkets, it's a great place to pick up some keepsakes. The street leads to Harimayabashi Shopping Street, which eventually takes you to to the Kochi Castle. Keep an eye out for coral jewelry during your Kochi cruise: About 80 percent of Japan's coral artifact producers are located in Kochi.
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