Especially Noted Products: raw and dried bonito, coral crafts, long-tailed cocks, Tosa native dogs and Tosa fighting dogs.
Especially Noted Cuisine: Sawachi-ryori and Katsuo no Tataki (bonito seared only on the surface)
Kochi, the largest city on the Pacific coast, is the capital
of Kochi Prefecture, especially known for its marine products,
forestry and greenhouse culture of vegetables. The fishing ports
dotted along the Pacific coast are usually busy with small boats
that bring in bonito and mackerel from the warm current offshore,
and sometimes with big boats that have made six- or seven-month
voyages after tuna into the Indian Ocean, the Tasman Sea, even
Men in this prefecture have long been known for a trait called igosso. When a man is called igosso, it means he is gallantly generous, obstinately independent, carefree and passionate in his usually unpredictable actions. Women of the same type are called hachikin.
Kochi was also a castle town. The approach to the castle gate is liveliest on Sunday as the 3-cantury-old Sunday Market is held there, the 1.2 km avenue lined with hundreds of stalls stocked with every kind of local product imaginable - vegetables, fruits, flowers, trees, raw, dried or cooked fish, coral crafts, toys, knives, antiques, old clothes, china, earthenware, kittens, puppies, granny's pickles, cookies, candies, rice cakes, pancakes and sundry items.
* 5 minutes' walk from JR Kochi Station to the entrance of Sunday Market.
Kochi-jo Castle came into being in 1588 when Chosokabe Motochika, who once subjugated the whole of Shikoku, built his castle here on top of the hill. In 1600 Yamanouchi Kazutoyo took over the castle, rebuilt it, and 16 generations of Lords Yamanouchi reigned until 1869 when the Province was officially returned to the Emperor Meiji.
Ｔhe Otemon Main Gate built in 1603 Still stands. The statue seen on entering the gate is that of Itagaki Taisuke, leader of Japan's popular right movement. The other buildings - the highest donjon, turrets and gates - also retain their original style, though they were rebuilt around the middle of the 18th century.
The donjion houses a museum exhibiting a large collection of mementoes of the Yamanouchi Family and historical assets of the province, with one wing dedicated to local people who in the 1860's became a driving force in overthrowing the Shogunate and restoring imperial rule.
Tosa was at the vanguard when Japan was at this critical turning point in her history. The 15th lord of Tosa Province, Yamanouchi Yodo for his part presented the Shogun a petition for the peaceful restoration of imperial rule. As the Shogun accepted it in 1867 a bloodless transference of the reins of government was tentatively achieved though its aftermath, the Boshin Civil War, was far from bloodless.
At the entrance hall of the museum, there are some exhibitions concerning two of the favorite sons of Tosa Province - Sakamoto Ryoma and Nakaoka Shintaro. One of the captions is quoted from the postscript to Vol.1 of Ryoma ga yuku, a biographical novel of Sakamoto Ryomo, written by a leading novelist of contemporary Japan, Shiba Ryotaro:
Sakamoto Ryoma can rightly be called a miracle in the history of the Meiji Restoration. All the heroes who appeared in those days can be classified into categories. Only Ryoma cannot. He stood alone even among thousands of revolutionaries in that period. It was a miracle in itself, too, that Japan happened to have this young man at that turning point in history. If the Unseen Hand had not been so timely, Japan might have had a different history.
Indeed, only a few Japanese have been admired so much as Ryoma. He was the archetypical igosso, who was born in 1835 in downtown Kochi as a son of a wealthy samurai.
At 19 he went up to Edo (Tokyo) to sharpen his swordsmanship. But in July of that year (1853), Edo and its vicinity were thrown into chaos: Coｍmodore Perry of the United States arrived at Tokyo Bay, demanding the Tokugawa Shogun sing a treaty. Japan had maintained a national isolation policy for over two hundred years. The confusion that followed was unprecedented in the history of this country. Ryoma was simply a bewildered observer at that time.
In 1858 he returned to Kochi as an acknowledged swordsman. Then he met Kawada Shoryo, an artist-scholar, who was already well-informed about foreign affairs through acquaintance with John Manjiro. Shoryo inspired Ryoma with a vision of modern Japan as a nation fortified against Western colonialism.
In 1862 he returned to Edo after disenfranchising himself of
goshi status in his home province. Soon he came to know Katsu
Kaishu, the Shogun's Commissioner of the Warship Department. Katsu
was among the most knowledgeable of internal and external affairs
at that time. Two years earlier he had been to America as the
captain of the first Japanese boat to cross the Pacific, when
the Shogun sent a delegation to Washington to conclude a treaty
of friendship and commerce with the U.S.A. He was a man of foresight,
too, curiously unselfish and detached from the Shogunate he served.
Ryoma offered himself as Katsu's assistant and learned under him Western navigation and studies including political science, philosophy and law. Katsu also introduced Ryoma to his colleagues and friends. Some of them were progressive scholars or thinkers; others were politically influential.The latter turned out to be instrumental when Ryoma began to carry out his revolutionary plans.
First he started a trading corporation with some of the former
students of the Navy Training Institute, established by Katsu
in 1864 but closed the next year when it was suspected of being
"a den of radicals" and Kastu was dismissed.
Now Ryoma knew ships were his passion and that the future of Japan was on the sea - in trading. To begin with, Ryoma approached the Satsuma Clan for a schooner, setting up a corporation in Nagasaki with the Satsuma Clan as a major shareholder. This was Japan's first joint stock company.
His second plan was to include the Choshu Clan as another shareholder.
Satsuma and Choshu had been hostile to each other, but if united,
they could be a formidable power to overthrow the Shogunate, which
was now turning to a European colonialist to subjugate Choshu
first and then other revolutionary clans.
Ryoma, with his trading company uniting them, made Satsuma and Choshu into allies. From a merchant marine, the company thus developed into the first de facto modern navy in Lapan.
His next idea was to have someone bring forward a motion to the Shogun for the Restoration of Imperial Rule. Ryoma brought his Eight - Point Plan to Goto Shojiro, Chief Secretary of Lord Yamanouchi Yodo in Tosa, his home province. Goto felt it could be acceptable not only to the Emperor but also to the Tokugawa family if not the Shogunate itself.
In fact, his Plan, slightly revised by Goto, did prove to be
acceptable to all sides including Lord Yamanouchi who agreed to
present the motion in his own name. On October 15, 1866, the Shogun
Yoshinobu adopted it to avoid a great deal of further bloodshed.
That very night Ryoma planned how to organize a provisional government for the new era to come. The next day he produced a list of cabinet personnel. Both were agreed upon by all concerned.
At first they were surprised not to see the name of Ryoma himself on the list. Wasn't he the leader of this revolution? When asked why, Ryoma simply answered, "I am not interested in working in an office. I think I' ll go back to sea - the seas of the world."
Yet he stayed busy guiding the Meiji Restoration and planning the new government. But a month later, on November 15, on his 33rd birthday, Ryoma was assassinated in Kyoto.
Before his untimely death, however, Ryoma seemed to have done
everything he thought he had to. The administrative policy he
had prepared was willingly adopted by the new government.
The Five-Point Imperial Oath delivered by Emperor Meiji in 1868, in effect the first constitution of modern Japan, was derived from the Eight-Point Plan Ryoma had made two years before.
Here comes another igosso, Itagaki Taisuke (1837-1919). During the Boshin Civil War. Itagaki led his Tosa legion to subjugate the pro-Shogunate clan of Aizu(Fukushima Pref.).
During the battle he keenly felt the necessity for the equality
of people, when he saw only the privileged class of warriors upholding
the Aizu cause in that test of loyalty. The other classes, who
had long been left in the cold, simply fled. Itagaki said to himself,
"It's only natural ; only where there are rights is there
A few years later when Itagaki retired from the cabinet in Tokyo, he started working to implement the First Article of the Imperial Charter Oath delivered by Emperor Meiji - "Deliberative assemblies shall be established on an extensive scale, and all measures of government shall be decided by public opinion."
In 1873, he and other members of the Aikoku Koto Party - the first political association of the Meiji era - presented a resolution to the government, requesting the establishment of a parliamentary government, but without success. He returned to Kochi and established the Risshi - sha society to propagate democratic principles, a pioneer among political societies emerging at that time.
By 1881 the national movement for democratic rights had reached its zenith and finally obtained the government's pledge to inaugurate a National Assembly in 1890.
But when the first Deliberative Council was finally assembled and the Liberal Party was reorganized, it had already lost its original spirit. To the frustration of Itagaki, it was difficult for liberalism, especially in politics, to take root in Japan.
Yet Kochi is regarded as the birthplace of Japan's Movement for Democratic Rights. It was also in this prefecture, in the town of Kamimachi in 1880, that women first acquired suffrage, 65 years earlier than women in the rest of the country, who attained it in 1945 only after World War II .
*There is the Memorial Museum of this Movement for Democratic Right, Jiyuminken Kinenkan, on the Sambashi-dori near the ferry port. Open daily except Monday and days after national holidays. Admission: \300 (Students: \100)
Halfway up the castle hill by the stone steps are statues of a woman and a big horse. She is the wife of Yamanouchi Kazutoyo, widely known as "a model of an exemplary wife."
In one well-known episode, when her husband was still an unknown
young samurai in Owari (Aichi Pref.) she heard he was anxious
to have a fleet steed but could not afford it, and promptly produced
a sufficient cache of money she had carefully saved.
By virtue of that wonderful horse, Kazutoyo's readiness to help his master was first recognized by Oda Nobunaga, ultimate victor of the long Civil War from 1477 to 1573. Kazutoyo continued his successful career until he was appointed Lord or Tosa Province by the Tokugawa Shogunate with a fief of 240,000 koku, the largest in Shikoku.
Naturally many wives in Japan still like to cite "Yamanouchi Kazutoyo's wife" to justify their secret savings.
Chosokabe Motochika (1539-99), like many other warlords in the Civil War Period that lasted about a century from the close of the 15th Century, fought for his autonomy and for the increase of his fief until he finally subjugated the whole island of Shikoku (1584).
But soon he had to fight against Toyotomi Hideyoshi, the successor to Oda Nobunaga as the strongest civil-war baron steadily unifying the country. When Motochika was defeated, he had to give up all the Lands he had invaded - Awa, Sanuki and Iyo. And it was only by helping was formally appointed Lord of Tosa.
Soon after his death, however, his heir Morichika fought a losing battle against the Tokugawa at Sekigahara, only to be deprived of his fief. In 1615 he was killed during the Tokugawas' siege against Osaka Castle. This spelled the end of the Chosokabe eminence.
When Yamanouchi Kazutoyo became Lord of Tosa, he brought his own samurai from his former fiefdom (60,000koku) of Kakegawa (shizuoka apref.), thus badly icing Chosokabe's samurai called goshi or country samurai all through the Edo Period. No wonder those goshi from Tosa ware among the main forces to over throw the Tokugawa Shogunate.
* 25 minutes' bus ride from Seibu Terminal (Tosa Dentetsu Bus bound for Chikurinji).
Chikurin-ji Temple, situated on top of Godaisan Hill, is one
of the biggest of the 88 temples. The main image, Manjusri, the
Bodhisattva of wisdom and intellect, and 19 other Buddhist images
in the treasure house are all Important Cultural Properties.
Just next to the temple is Makino Botanical Garden, a 30,000 m garden with 1,200 species, built in memory of the world-famous botanist Makino Tomitaro (1862-1957). He was an igosso, too. The self-taught man spent his life traveling to every corner of this country, making a collection of no less than 400,000 specimens, discovering and naming about 1,000 new species, and writing a number of books containing his own precise illustrations.
Makino Bunko Library in the Garden houses 42,000 volumes from his library, part of which is open to the public. Open daily except December 28 -January 3. Admission:\350.
* 30 minutes' bus ride from Harimaya-bashi (Kochi-ken Kotsu Bus bound for Katsurahama)
* For Ryoma Kinen-ken Memorial Museum, get off at Hotei Keishokaku mae Bus Stop.
This beach on the Pacific Ocean is among the most popular in Shikoku. The Shell Museum near the bus stop displays a collection of 100,000 specimens. Open daily. Admission: \500.
The Aquarium on the beach is another attraction. Open daily.
Admission: \950 (High school studeants: \600)
Looking over the ocean is a statue of Sakamoto Ryoma erected in 1928 by Ryoma admirers on top of a small hill near the Tosa Fighting Dog Center. On another hill behind is the Ryoma Memorial Museum, which was also funded by Ryoma admirers all over the country. High technology is utilized in various ways to introduce his dramatic life.
Open daily. Admission: \350
* Another museum dedicated to Ryoma is the Ryoma Wax Doll Museum that features the 25 scenes from his life.
Near Katsurahama Bus Stop there is the Tosa Fighting Dogs Center where a dog fight is shown when they have an audience of 30 or more. (\1000).
Kochi Prefecture is known for the two types of dogs - the native Tosa Dog as a Natural Monument and the Tosa Fighting Dogs, crossbreeds of the native dogs with mastiffs, bulldogs are St. Bernards.
Here dogs are carefully trained and the game is conducted under strict rules.
A dog that whines or turns its hind to the opponent is judged the loser.
Like sumo wrestlers, the dogs are graded into a hierarchy according to the points they have recently earned.
* The long - tailed cocks called onaga - dori exhibited in another corner are also peculiar to this prefecture. The tail of a fullgrown cock reaches as long as 6 m. How this species came into being is unknown.
Ryugado Stalactite Grotto deep in Mt. Sampo is one of the biggest three of its kind in Japan. Visitors are guided along a 1 km path, about a quarter of the whole grotto, thought to be 150,000,000 years old.
For those who are not claustrophobic, stalactites of various shapes and sizes highlight a narrow maze where falls resound and streams murmur. There are about 100 animal species living in the darkness--bats, shrimp, crabs and so on.
When the grotto was discovered in 1931, they found not a few relics from the Yayoi Period (roughly 300 B.C.-300 A.D). In one corner, more than a dozen earthenware vessels remained almost intact, together with some stoneware, animal bones and shells. Another corner had a water jar to collect water dripping from above--now a stalactite.
Situated on the Shimanto, the largest river in Shikoku, the city is known as Little Kyoto because of its origin, its checkered streets and places named after those in Kyoto. The origin of the city dates back to 1468 when Ichijo Norifusa, the former Chief Advisor to the Emperor, chose to live here, taking refuge from the Onin Civil War in Kyoto.
The Onin Civil War (1467-1477) fought between 2 groups of the Muromachi Shogun's vassals and warriors reduced Kyoto to ashes, starting the Civil War Period that lasted about 100 years.
When Norifusa Became Lord of Tosa, the small village of Nakamura was made the capital of the Land of Tosa and remained so for about a century until 1573 when Chosokabe Motochika banished Lord Ichijo`s descendents to Kyushu.
Ichijo-jinja Shrine 一条神社 built at the site of the residence of the Ichijo family, Fuwa Hachimangu Shrine 不破八幡宮 and Taihei-ji Temple 太平寺 are among the historic spots remaining from the heyday of Nakamura. A most spectacular Gion-Matsuri Festival (the1st weekend in August) at Gion-jinja 祇園神社 was also started by Ichijo Norifusa.
Tamematsu Koen Park 為松公園, laid out on the former site of Nakamura-jo Castle built by Lord Tamematsu before Ichijo Norifusa arrived, now features a local historic museum housed in a newly-built donjon. The museum displays mementoes of the Ichijo family, historical assets of this neighborhood and some writtings and belongings of Kotoku Shusui 幸徳秋水, a native of Nakamura and another igosso who led Japan's first pacifist-socialist movement.
Kotoku Shusui (1871-1911) : As a boy he took part in the national movement for democratic rights . As a young man he made himself a student of Nakae Chomin 中江兆民(1847-1901), another igosso from Kochi City, a political thinker who first translated and propagated Jean Jacques Rousseau's Du Contrat Social.
Then he turned to pacifist-socialism and firmly opposed the Russo-Japanese War (1904-5), advocating democracy and a peaceful society.
As the goverment was oppressing socialism ,4 syndicated workmen plotted to assassinate Emperor Meiji, but were detected in 1910. Kotoku was not directly involved, even though he had turned to anarchism. But the government, anxious to eli0minate such elements, accused him of being the main conspirator and in the following year condemned him to death together with 11 others.
The Dragonfly Reservation and Museum トンボの王国 represents the local people's will to keep the Shimanto--the last unpolluted river in Japan--as it is. There are over 70 varieties seen in summer and early autumn.
Cape Ashizuri, the southermost tip of Shikoku, crowns the Ashizuri Uwakai National Park. A few hours' hiking promenade on the cliff covered with camellias and subtropical trees centers on Kongofukuji Temple 金剛福寺, which provides both a Pilgrims' Lodge and a Youth Hostel.
Gazing out over wide stretches of ocean rewards the extensive travel required to reach there. But the breakers below the high rocky cliff look and sound forbidding.
Nevertheless, stories from the 12th to 15th centuries celebrate men who set out from these rocks and let the wind and the currents carry them into the void of the ocean. They ware Kannon worshippers, who tried to reach the blessed land of Kannon--Fudaraku, from Potalaka, a rocky mountain at the tip of Cape Comorin in India.
The holy man who chose to sail over the seas for Fudaraku had utmost faith in Kannon, the Buddhist embodiment of compassion. But his disciples, seeing their master and his boat carried away on the unknown sea, were stricken with grief. In tears they stamped their feet on the rocks. This is, we are told, why this cape is named Ashizuri or Foot-Stamping.
Kongofuku-ji Temple, which Emperor Saga designated as the East Gate to Fudaraku, has traditionally been a training place for traveling monks and ascetics since 822 when it was reportedly founded by Kobo Daishi (Kukai).
In 1841, a local boy was borne away by winds and tides. But unlike the Kannon worshippers in former days, he returned home as a young man equipped with a wealth ofinformation from abroad. He is known as John Manjiro ジョン万次郎 (1827-1898), whose statue marks Ashizuri-misaki Bus Stop. Manjiro was born in present-day Tosa Shimizu City as the second son of a firsherman who had died when Manjiro was nine.
To help his widowed mother who had to support five children, Manjiro worked hard as an assistant fisherman.
One day in January when he was 14, his master's boat fishing off Tosa Bay was caught in a storm. The five in the boat were thrown into mortal fear. Thirteen days later, they were cast upon the rocky shore of Torishima, an uninhabited island 580 km off Tokyo Bay.
Five months later, they were rescued by an American whaler. When she anchored in Honolulu the Japanese fishermen gratefully disembarked. But Captain Whitfield, who found Manjiro unusually bright and diligent, was eager to bring him to his hometown, New Bedford. He offered his plan, and Manjiro gladly accepted it.
Four years passed before the whaler returned home to Massachusetts. By that time Manjiro had become a good whaler himself. John Mung, as Captain Whitfield liked to call him, spent three years on land learning the reading and writing of English, mathematics, navigation and mensuration.
Then he was again on board a whaler , which brought him to southern Africa, the Indian Ocean, Australia, Java, New Guinea, Manila, the East China Sea, Taiwan, Okinawa and Hawaii. Two years later he had another opportunity to go to sea and when he returned to Massachusetts it was as the vice-captain of the whaler.
Manjiro might have spent the rest of his life in America. He had been kindly accepted by the community. He liked the American way of life--democracy, freedom and independence. Yet he thought he must return to Japan to help Japan open her door to the rest of the world. To Manjiro who had visited many ports around the world, Japan's policy and behavior seemed quite outdated.
Then the gold rush brought him to California. With some money he got there, he managed to sail to Honolulu to join the Japanese fishermen he had parted with earlier. In 1851, ten years after they left home, Manjiro and two fishermen succeded in returning as close as Okinawa. One had already died, another had chosen to stay in Hawaii.
The first-hand overseas information and skills Manjiro brought home were eagerly sought after by those who had already felt the necessity for the opening of Japan. It was not long before he was summoned by Lord Shimazu of Satsuma Province (Kagoshima Pref.) to which Okinawa belonged, and then by lord Yamanouchi of Tosa, his home province.
In 1853 Commodore Perry arrived at Uraga with his black ships. Nakahama (John) Manjiro 中浜万次郎, now a samurai of Tosa Province, was summoned by the Tokugawa Shogunate in Edo (Tokyo) for his knowledge of the world he had sailed around and of the United States where he had been living.
He taught them English, translation, navigation, mensuration, shipbuilding, and whaling. The next year a treaty of friendship and commerce was signed. In 1860 when the Tokugawa Shogun sent a delegation to the U.S.A to conclude the treaty, Manjiro again crossed the Pacific as their interpreter.
After the Meiji Restoration in 1867 the new goverment also needed his help, offering him a post at the Kaisei School for Western Learning, which later became part of Tokyo University, Japan's first national university.
Manjiro was the first modern Jaoanese to acquire a global viewpoint--a very rare case. But sometimes he could be a hard case in Japan, a land of feudalistic conformity. Yet Manjiro as a true individualist and igosso, did as much as he could for his two countries--Japan and America.
John Mung House ジョン万ハウス is dedicated to the Japan-America friendship Manjiro established in the 19th Century.
Sandstone carved into fantastic shapes by waves and winds provides "the Forty-eight Surprises" along the coast of Tatsukushi. The glass-bottom boat, which leaves the Kanko Noriba Pier, brings passengers to Minokoshi across an aquatic park that features corals and other subtropical life.
Along the coast of Minokoshi, even more spectacular than Tatsukushi, the promenade leads to Byobuiwa Rock with ripple marks fossilized on the sea-bed. At least 2 hours are required in Minokoshi alone.
Cape Muroto, the principal attraction of the Muroto Anan Quasi-National park, consists of a 100 m-high-terrace and the rugged rocky shore around it. On the terrace there stands Hotsumisaki-ji Temple.
Next to the temple are a lighthouse and a meteorological station, good places for whale-watching. This area, a preferred route for typhoons, is the windiest part of Japan, average years having over 180 days with winds of gale force.
The statue of a young man that marks the bus stop is that of Nakaoka Shintaro (1838-1867), an associate of Sakamoto Ryoma. They were assassinated together in Kyoto in Ryoma's room at the Omiya Inn. Shintaro is viewed as gazing upon Ryoma at faraway Katsurahama Beach.
The shore can be explored by following the promenade. About 25 minutes' walk will bring you to a couple of caves, one of which is called Shimmei-kutsucelebrating Kukai's having achieved enlightenment there at the age of 19.
The towns and villages along the Pacific coast were known for whaling for about 300 years Today they attract visitors interested in whale-watching.
Whales and dolphins in the Arctic and Antarctic Oceans migrate to warmer seas in their breeding season, so in spring they are seen going north along the western coast of the cape, and in winter going south along the eastern coast.
Whale-watching cruises are available at the ports of Muroto-misaki and Ogata near Nakamura City.
Updated 22 October 2016
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