Monday, March 23, 2020

Why not Enjoy Hanami in Kochi this Spring?

   Hanami, or flower viewing, is a popular spring pastime in Japan. From the end of March to mid-April, people gather under the sakura blossoms to eat bento lunches and drink. In Kochi, people are known to start doing hanami even before the sakura bloom. There are also yozakura (night sakura) viewings, where sakura are lit up against the night sky creating a beautiful view. Sakura only bloom for a short period of time, so everyone plans their hanami to try to coincide with when they are in full bloom.
   Hanami have been held by the general public since the Heian period (794 to 1185). It is said that the origin of the modern hanami comes from how people would gather together during this period to drink, eat, and pray for good harvest.
   In this edition we will introduce beer, vital to hanami, and spring-themed wagashi (Japanese sweets). Why not grab something delicious this spring and head out to view the flowers?

Have some Wagashi to end Hanami on a Sweet Note

Adi Kerta Rahayu (Ayu) (Kochi City CIR)

In front of the store
   Spring calls to mind hanami (flower viewing) and sakura blossoms. The weather starts to warm and color returns to the city scenery. It has been five years since I last experienced spring in Japan, so I was very much looking forward to sakura and hanami.
   This spring, I tried my hand at making wagashi (Japanese sweets), together with Minda; an experience just right for the season. We attended the wagashi making workshop at Shingetsu, a Japanese confectionery store established in 1953, located just a two-minute walk away from Ohashidori station. The third-generation owner Nishimura Daisuke taught us how to make wagashi, as we tried our best to follow!

Brew Happiness! Craft Beer TOSACO

Kochi Prefecture CIR Minda Dettman

Hanami with TOSACO♪
Beer is the key to Hanami!
   A good drink is vital to a good hanami. With craft beer gaining popularity in many countries including the United States (and as I personally am fond of it), we decided to feature Kochi’s first craft brewery, Kochi Campagne Brewery, in today's edition. The founder, Mr. Setoguchi, kindly introduced us to the company, which is located in Tosayamada, Kami City. Why not bring Kochi Campagne Brewery’s TOSACO beer to your hanami this spring, and enjoy it’s subtle flavors created using Kochi products like yuzu and sansho pepper?

Living in Kochi Q&A : What do you do when you need to throw away large items or buy used items? (Kochi City Edition)

   Spring is moving season! People tend to throw away things and buy things around this time. We talked to the Kochi City Hall Environmental Policy Division about trash disposal in Kochi City.

How to dispose of large items
(*If you live somewhere other than Kochi City, trash disposal is different!)

①Large burnables (large wooden objects(beds, shelves, etc.), plastic storage cases, futons, etc.)
②Home appliances (microwaves, printers, hair dryers, etc.)
Free of charge
Take out to the “recyclables and incombustibles station” on the designated day of the month.
Requires money
Take to a Kochi City facility on your own (Kochi City Nagahama for ①, Kochi City Ike for ②)
Have a company come pick it up.

③Items included in the Home Appliance Recycling Law (TVs, refrigerators, freezers, laundry machines, clothes dryers, air conditioners)
These items cannot be disposed of at the “recyclables and incombustibles stations” or at Kochi City facilities.
Requires money
Purchase a “home appliance recycle ticket” at the post office, and take to a designated facility.
Have a “Home Appliance Recycle Promotion Program Cooperating Store” come and take it.

Have the manufacturer take it. (cannot be disposed at “recyclables and incombustibles stations” or Kochi City facilities. )

※ Details can be found on the “Kochi City household trash disposal” flyer. (Kochi City also has flyers in English and Chinese.)

   Trash disposal rules are complicated! They differ depending on the city you live in as well. If you don’t understand how to dispose of trash, make sure to ask your neighbors, or consult with your local government office. Please ask KIA if you require an interpreter.

Buying used home electric appliances and furniture
   We will introduce recycle shops in Kochi that sell used home appliances and furniture. You can buy for cheap when you want to save money. You can also sell items that you no longer need. These are our recommendations!

【BJ Recycle-Kan】Address:〒780-0084  7-29 Minamigoza, Kochi City

【Recycle Shop Horidashiya】Adress:〒781-5106  993-5 Kera Otsu, Kochi City

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Japanese Cultural Experience-Incense Ceremony [Kōdō]-

Each year, Kochi Castle Museum of History provides opportunities for foreigners to experience traditional Japanese culture.
This year you can learn about the history and rules of “Incense Ceremony”, and experience “kumikō” one basic style that takes the form of a guessing game.
With explanations in English, even beginners will easily understand.
Please join us and experience the wonderful aspect Japanese art through Japanese incense.
March 1 (Sun), 2020  2:00~4:00 p.m.
Kochi Castle Museum of History   (2-7-5 Ote-suji, Kochi-city)

First 15 arrivals
How to apply
Send a mail, or a post card, or a fax, or call us with your name, address, telephone number.
We’ll send you a ticket.
Hosted by
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 :

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Kochi’s New Year’s Dishes

The Basic Rules of New Year’s Dishes (Osechi and Zouni)
   Osechi, traditional Japanese New Year’s dishes are made using auspicious ingredients and cooking methods, in the hope of bringing health and prosperity in the new year. For example, burdock plants are used because they have deep roots, symbolizing continued prosperity for each generation of the family. A classic New Year’s meal would be a combination of osechi and zouni, a soup containing mochi rice cakes. Zouni’s ingredients and seasoning differ greatly between region and household.
Ms. Takahashi and her wonderful smile

We watched Shimenawa being made!

   In Japan, Shimenawa is used to decorate the gates at shrine entrances, torii gates, and entrances of homes when New Years rolls around. The word Shimenawa comes from the word “Shimeru,” which means “to possess or occupy.” A Shimenawa is the boundary between the domain that the gods occupy and this world. A Shimenawa represents the wish to not let evil inside.

   We visited Mr. Mizuta’s residence, in Ino Town, where they make Shimenawa, and the straw was piled up high! They were working silently among the piles of straw. They are inundated with orders from shrines outside of the prefecture, and during December they are extremely busy as they prepare to deliver their products.
The Mizuta family

Would you like to experience Hatsumoude at Chikurinji?

The stone steps of Chikurinji
   Paying a visit to a shrine or temple after the new year is called Hatsumoude. The reason for a Hatsumoude is to express gratitude for the previous year, and to pray that the upcoming year will be a good one. So what exactly happens at a Hatsumoude?

Kochi Lifestyle Q&A : Let’s request books in our native tongue at the Otepia library!

Writer: Kochi Prefectural Office, Coordinator for International Relations, Han Jeonggyu

   Hi. I am Han. Having spent a long time in Japan, away from my home country, I sometimes find myself missing Korea. At times like this, I head to Otepia Kochi Library. There are many books of various languages at Otepia, and I take comfort in the Korean books. However, what happens when they don’t have the books I want? One can request, for free, that Otepia import specific books from overseas.

   To request books, you will need a “Joint Library Card” (Otepia’s standard library card). You can make one at the library for free. Just bring along something that can verify your identity, like your residence card. Once you have your Joint Library Card, you can request books using the application form, or through the library’s website. The application form is available at the service counters in Otepia and other branch libraries. To request a book through the website, use the form titled “お問い合わせ入力フォーム” ( Ensure that you write your book’s title, author, publisher and the year it was published. That’s all! All of this information should be written in the language the requested book is published in. If there is a Japanese translation available, please provide its title as a reference as well. In addition, providing the book’s ISBN will help your request be processed even more smoothly.*

   If you miss your home country, why not warm up your heart with a book in your mother tongue?

   * However, even if you make a request, there are times when the library cannot import your books.

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 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.