Friday, September 20, 2019

Nature & Experience Promotion Campaign

   The Nature & Experience Promotion Campaign, held by Kochi Prefecture from February 1st, 2019 to December 31st, 2020, promotes tourism to all regions of Kochi. Building on the previous campaigns that focused on Kochi’s history and food, the current campaign focuses on Kochi’s nature and experiential activities.
Lush forests and Niyodo River

Let’s do some whale watching this summer!

Kochi Prefecture CIR Valerie Teo

   It’s summer.

   When we talk about summer, the sea comes to mind.

   For those who cannot get enough of the sea and would like to try some unusual fun activities, why not try whale watching on the open sea?

   The whale watching season arrives with the end of the rainy season! There are five whale watching tour operators in Kochi, with their snazzy, multilingual website, so we decided to head there.

   On normal weekdays, there is only one whale watching tour a day. However, during the summer holidays, participants can choose from one of three tour times each day, not only on weekends but on weekdays as well. For this report, a KIA staff member and I participated in a tour with six other people, including a group from Hong Kong.
Listening to the staff explaining points to note

Nature & Experience Promotion Campaign “Grape-picking”

This banner greets everyone
   The theme this time is “Nature and Experience Promotion Campaign”, so after examining several activities which fit the theme, we decided to go to Kyohoen, where you can experience grape-picking with minimal materials close to Kochi City.

Kochi Lifestyle Q&A

Q. I want to try out various activities in Kochi! Is there any way I can easily gather information and make reservations?

A. Yes there is! In fact, Kochi just started its Nature & Experience Promotion Campaign. Thanks to this campaign, finding information and reserving activities has gotten much easier.
 
   First, if you understand Japanese, you can search for activities at https://kochi-experience.jp/. This is the perfect place to collect information. On it are suggested itineraries, information on different places and events in Kochi, and even tour packages by various travel companies such as Jalan and Asoview all gathered together. Plus, when you find an activity you would like to try, you can reserve a place on the spot!

Monday, June 24, 2019

Tasty / Happy / Fun Susaki ~Morning” at a Café~

Me and Shinjo-kun
Kochi City Hall CIR Marisa
 
   Susaki is famous for Shinjo-kun, but I heard that this city has an interesting tradition, so I went to Susaki City with staff members from KIA to learn more about it!
 
Getting to know “Morning” culture
   It is said that on the ocean side of Susaki, after fishermen came back from sea, “eating breakfast at a café” later became known as “Morning” and spread from there. We immediately picked up a “Morning”/lunch guide map at JR Susaki Station. There were many cafes offering “Morning” all day, and it was very hard to decide on one as they all looked delicious.
Susaki seaside, baby sardines on drying racks

Reflect on yourself through an hour of Zen meditation in the morning

Temple gate of Gokokuji
Going through the temple gates
   In this edition, CIR Naomi and KIA staff visited Gokokuji Temple in Iguchicho, Kochi City. It was still dark at 5:50 am, and a dim light was coming from within the temple gates. We went through, and the wooden building and plants, still wet with dew, looked beautiful. We could see the figure of the abbott through a small window, and with the scent of incense wafting from the entrance, it felt like we had entered a scene from a Ghibli movie!
   The inside of the temple gave one a feeling of traditional Japan; the interior was simple and the moss-covered garden emanated an atmosphere of calmness. The abbott told us that he gets up at 2:30 am every morning and cleans the building, as well as incorporating Zen meditation into his daily practices—an ideology passed down from previous generations.

Kochi Lifestyle Q&A: Q. Are there consultation services for foreigners for various fields? A. Yes, there are such places below!

Kochi Consultation Center for Foreign Residents
   This center opened as a new organization under KIA at the end of May 2019! It assists foreign residents in Kochi by listening and advising them with regards to their daily life, and helping them out with their troubles. It is equipped with telephone interpreting and translation applications, so feel free to contact the center in your own native language.

Friday, March 29, 2019

Let’s make a “Ryoma Passport” and travel around Kochi!

   The Ryoma Passport is an item which gets you special perks simply by showing it at various tourist facilities, hot springs, road stations, and restaurants serving local dishes. Might as well use it if you’re
living in Kochi! You’ll be surprised at how many places there are near to you where you can use it. In this issue, KIA staff and CIRs will show you some of the ways to use the Ryoma Passport.
 
The flag
How to get a Ryoma Passport
1. First, get the pamphlet for the Ryoma Passport at various places like the Kochi Station Tourist Information Center, and cut out the registration postcard on the back. (We also have the pamphlets at KIA.)
2. Collect three kinds of stamps on the postcard at applicable facilities. For example, ①Enter the main keep of Kochi Castle→②Spend at least 500yen on food or goods at Hirome Market→③Visit The Museum of Art, Kochi. You will already have three stamps this way.
3. Next, if you go to the Kochi Travel Plaza in front of JR Kochi Station, you can exchange the postcard for a “Blue Passport” on the same day.
* You can also mail the registration form. Once you collect the necessary stamps for the “Blue Passport”, you can trade it in for a “Red Passport”. There are five levels (Blue→Red→Bronze→Silver→Gold).

Having fun in Nankoku City with the Ryoma Passport!

Kochi City CIR Marisa

   The cold weather has all but disappeared, and spring, the season where Japan’s beautiful cherry blossoms start to bloom, has begun. As it gets warmer it becomes a waste to spend your days curled up at home, so why not head out and use your Ryoma Passport! You can use it as if you were playing a gamecollecting stamps, and moving up levels.
 
We used our Ryoma Passports to try Shamo chicken in Nankoku!
Shamo nanban ricebowl
   Gomen Machi in Nankoku City is famous for its shamo cuisine, and the chickens raised there are called “Gomen Kenka Shamo”. It is said to have been a favorite dish of Sakamoto Ryoma. Furthermore, these “Gomen Kenka Shamo” are rare in Japan due to being purebred, the same as when they were once eaten by Sakamoto Ryoma. Shamo is known for its firm meat and chewy texture.
 
   In Nankoku City, approximately 20 restaurants located around the JR Gomen Station area provide shamo cuisine, and of these, 15 accept the Ryoma Passport. When we investigated, the standard shamo dish was “nabe” (hotpot), however we found you could eat a whole range of shamo-based foods in the area, including “shamo teppan-yaki” (shamo cooked on a hotplate), “shamo koumi-age” (shamo that is deep-fried after being seasoned with herbs or spices) and shamo pizza. We were surprised that there was such a mix of shamo dishes available!

Let’s enjoy Akaoka with our Ryoma Passports!

Kochi Prefecture CIR Valerie Teo
 
   We’re off to Akaoka Station! Akaoka used to be called Konan’s “Commercial Town”, and nostalgic scenery can still be seen in its streets even now. Following on from a discovery in Nankoku City, this time we will be exploring Akaoka in search of eateries and facilities that display the Ryoma Passport banner.
 
 
Tosawo Shoten Chirimen Chuunichi Soba
  First, with our eyes on the “Chirimen Chuunichi Soba”, we headed to “Tosawo Shoten”. After a five minutes’ walk from the station, we spotted the banner!! “Tosawo Shoten” was written on the outer walls of the store in huge letters.
   Upon passing through the entrance, many fresh foods were laid out before our eyes, and to our left were tour pamphlets of the region.
   The eatery was located at the end of the room. Their menu had many food items—in addition to what we were intending to eat—that looked particularly delicious. We decided to go with the garlic-chive filled gyozas in addition to our chirimen chuunichi soba. The soba is made from a collaboration between Japanese style local chirimen fish soup stock, and Chinese noodles. Small fish, spring onion, fishcake, fried fishcake, shredded kombu made up the ingredients. It usually goes for 600 yen, but we got it at 550 yen thanks to the Ryoma Passport!
 

Kochi Lifestyle Q&A : The theme this time is HAY FEVER!!!

   Sakura (cherry blossoms) is synonymous with spring in Japan. The Sakura around Kochi Castle are indeed beautiful. In the spring, the plants are freed from the cold winter and all blossom at once.
 
Q : My friend is in his 5th year in Japan and all of a sudden has developed hay fever. What’s going on? I’m worried the same might happen to me.
① What are some symptoms of hay fever?
② I don’t have any symptoms now, but I’m very worried about what will happen from here on out. Is there anything I can do to keep the symptoms away?
③ If I do develop hay fever, what should I do?
 

Friday, March 1, 2019

Japanese Cultural Experience Japanese archery

   Kochi Castle Museum of History will provide opportunities for foreigners to experience traditional Japanese culture. This year we will introduce Kyudo (Japanese archery), one of Japanese military art. In addition to learning about the history about Japanese archery, and try drawing the bow themselves. With explanations in English, even beginners will easily understand. Please come and experience the wonderful aspect Japanese art through Japanese archery.
 
Date
 March 16 (Sat), 2019  2:00~4:00 p.m.
 
Place
 Kochi Prefectural Kyudo (12-1 Takasone, Kochi-city)

Capacity
 First 20 arrivals

Cost
 Free

How to apply
 Send a post card, or a fax, or a mail, or call us with your name, address, telephonenumber.
 We’ll send you a ticket.

Inquiries
 Kochi Prefectural Kochi Castle Museum of History 
 2-7-5 Ote-suji, Kochi-city 780-0842
 Phone 088-871-1600/Fax 088-871-1619
 e-mail address: jce20190316@gmail.com

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Let’s Learn about Kochi’s Forestry Industry

In the dark forest which blocks out the sun’s light
   For this issue we went to the Hokigamine Forest Park in Kami City, which was established in 1978, and consists of 102 hectors of mountain maintained by the Prefectural Government. Our guide was Shinji Hirako, the chairman of HIRAKO Lab. He left his work in the mass media six years ago, spurred on by his interest of “What can I do to protect the forest?” and is now involved in work including public awareness and forest environment education to “Protect and have others learn about the forest”.
   We asked about the current situation of Kochi’s mountains; “man-made forests are known by this term because they are formed by planting trees by hand, and mountains like this makeup 27% of the national land area. In Kochi, Japanese Cedar and Japanese Cypress makeup over 60% of Kochi’s forests.”
   In regards to man-made forests, he said “After the Second World War, the trees in these man-made forests were planted as a national policy. However the trees couldn’t be used for timber for buildings until 40-50 years had passed, which meant that reconstruction after the war was carried out using cheap timber from abroad. As a result of the free movement of imported timber, the demand for overseas timber greatly increased, causing prices in timber from Japan to slump. Many forest workers who owned mountain forests had to abandon them due to reasons including not being able to make a profit despite cutting down their trees, and not having a successor. This had a devastating effect on the economics of the Japanese forestry industry.”

Cycling Around the Mountain Villages

   Domestic woodland areas are located near to settlements, and thus indicate a deep connection to the humans around them. These communities would open up areas of the original woodland, which was formally used for firewood and the gathering of edible wild plants, and gradually changed it so that it became easier for people to use, such as through the replanting of trees to replace those cut for use in everyday life. The land around the domestic woodland areas is maintained, and used for rice fields, other crops and irrigation. As a result, insects and small animals gather, and an ecosystem is created that is shared with the community.
 
Small road bordered by trees
Bicycles rented? Check. Let’s go!

   Most parts of the cycling course had wide roads, with only one portion that had ups and downs, so even cycling beginners like us were able to handle it. One of the benefits to cycling is how we could cycle at our own pace while looking at the thinly covered mountains of red leaves and wild plants along the roadside. It was also fun to strike up a conversation with people we met while cycling.♪
  We rented bicycles with gears from “Muranoeki Hidaka”; a place that houses a cafe, fresh vegetables brought there directly by farmers, and a tourist information spot. Once we did the safety check of seeing if the brakes were working and whether the saddle was at a comfortable height, it was time to depart! This cycling course around the villages is a 15km “Satoyama Course” with its start and end point being “Muranoeki Hidaka”.

Kochi Lifestyle Q&A : Winter in Kochi is colder than you’d expect. Other than turning on the heater, what are some ways to keep warm?

   Kochi is called “Tropical Tosa” but can be surprisingly cold in the winter. The temperature can fall below 0℃ in January and February.
   Here are some tips from the KIA staff members in order to stay warm this winter.
 
○ Yutampo (hot water bottle)
   Add hot water to a container meant to be used as a hot water bottle, and put it under the blankets to warm them up before sleeping, or place it on your back or on your knees to keep warm. Metal hot water bottles were common in the past, but now there are bottles made from soft resin, which can be purchased for around ¥1000.
They stay warm for longer than you might expect, so please avoid moderate-temperature burns by putting on a cover.