Kochi is the capital city of Kochi Prefecture located on the island of Shikoku. Kōchi is the main city of the prefecture with over 40% of its population. As of May 31, 2008, the city had an estimated population of 340,515 and a density of 1,100 per square kilometre (2,800 /sq mi). The total area is 309.22 square kilometres (119.39 sq mi).
The city also has an extensive bus network.
Kōchi is located on the JR Shikoku's Dosan Line connecting it to northern Shikoku, and via interchanges with the Tosa Kuroshio Railway to the eastern and western parts of Kōchi Prefecture. JR's central station in Kōchi is Kōchi Station.
A lot of JETs a few CIRs. Needs updating.
Kōchi Castle still exists in its pre-restoration form, and is one of the main tourist attractions. Other places of interest in the city centre are the Obiyamachi (帯屋町?) shopping arcade, the regular Sunday street markets which are close to a kilometre in length, and Harimaya-bashi (はりまや橋?), a bridge that featured in a famous Kōchi song about the forbidden love of a Buddhist priest.
The mountain Godaisan (五台山?) holds a public park with views of the city, and is home to stop 31 on the Shikoku Pilgrimage, Chikurin-ji (竹林寺?), as well as the Makino Botanical Garden. Harimaya-bashiOff of Museum Road (Kenritsu Bijutsukandori) is the Kōchi Art Museum, where the main collection is composed of expressionistic works related to Kōchi.
At the mouth of Urado Bay, the remnants of Urado Castle (an earlier provincial seat) stand above Katsurahama (桂浜?), a famous beach with an aquarium and statue of the Kōchi hero Sakamoto Ryōma. Nearby on the grounds is the Sakamoto Ryōma Memorial Museum.
There is also the biggest Yosakoi Festival held in Kochi city every year in early August. Hundreds of Yosakoi dance groups come from all over Japan to participate in the huge three-day festival and dance in an parade that goes on for about 12 hours each day.
Notable Natives Include:
- Nakahama Manjirō (1827 – 1898) was one of the first Japanese people to visit the United States and an important translator during the Opening of Japan.
- Okada Izō (1832 – 1865) was a samurai of the late Edo period, feared as one of the four most notable assassins of the Bakumatsu period.
- Sakamoto Ryōma (1836 – 1867) was a leader of the movement to overthrow the Tokugawa shogunate during the Bakumatsu period.
- Itagaki Taisuke (1837 – 1919) was a politician and leader of the Freedom and People's Rights Movement, which evolved into Japan's first political party.
- Tsutomu Seki (born 1930) is an astronomer who has discovered a number of comets and asteroids.
- Nobuo Uematsu (born 1959) is a video game composer, best known for scoring the majority of titles in the Final Fantasy series.
- Ryōko Hirosue (born 1980) is an actress and pop star, best known in the West for her roles in the Luc Besson-produced Wasabi and the Academy Award-winning Japanese film Departures.
- Aaron Zagory (born 1985) is a Kōchi-born former US college football player, and the starting kicker for Stanford University in 2006 and 2008.
Kochi City has an AEON shopping center located north of Kochi Station. There is also Obiyamachi Shopping Arcade, located down the Densha Dori and near Harimayabashi. Parallel to Obiyamachi is the Sunday Market Street that has an open-air market every Sunday and Tuesday.
Kochi city is known for Boshi-pan (hat bread) and Katsuo Tataki. Since it is the biggest city in Kochi-ken, there are many options for resturants and cafes. The following are just a few of the popular choices.
- Hirome Ichiba: a place that any Kochi JET is very familiar with. Rather than a restaurant, Hirome is a collection of more than a dozen small restaurants, shops, and bars lining the walls of the building. In order to get a seat at one of the main picnic-style benches and tables, one must circle the area like a hawk.
- Masala: Delicious Indian resturant with a few locations. One of the locations is in Obiyamachi Shopping arcade.
- Decembre: Small cafe with delcious desserts and sandwiches.
- Wara Wara: Izakaya with decently priced fried foods and drinks.
- Panorama Cafe: Located on Godaisan
- Tanuki: Extremely cheap izakaya with a 2000 yen nomi/tabehoudai option.
For the most relevant tourist information regarding what to do, where to eat, and art/music events updated by local authors, the Kochi Beat is the best English guide that exists for the prefecture. It is a must check resource for anyone interested in visiting or living in Kochi.
- One Love
- Love Jamaican
- Plus Bar
- Freedom Cafe
- Musiq Lovers (event that takes place twice a year in an abandoned theatre near Obiyamachi)
- Big Echo
- Santuary (English-speaking owner of a bar that sits right outside Hirome Ichiba)
Live Houses/Music Venues
- Cafe 'de Blue
- ハリの家 (Hari no ie)
- Bee Station
- Fancy Labo RING
- エルレロ (erurero)
- タウン (taun)
- Pub Lounge TOWN
- Chaotic Noise K-Club
- Kochi Bank
- Dot Com Bank
- Shikoku Bank