Thursday, December 22, 2011

Roadside Station Tosa Washi Kogei Mura “QRAUD”

An old preserved storehouse
stands nearby. Inside is a gallery.
   When driving long-distance in Japan, most people make stops at “roadside stations.” That goes to show that there are many roadside stations in this country where you can take a break, shop, eat and gain traffic and tourist information.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Roadside Station Shimanto Towa

This large billboard with the logo attached
 acts as a landmark for the station
   Another roadside station we went to conduct an interview at was “Shimanto Towa,” located in Towa, Shimanto Town. “Shimanto Towa” opened in July of 2007, and currently has about 150,000 visitors annually, which is almost 50 times the population of the town it is located in. With some of the foremost tourist facilities in the area, the appeal of “Shimanto Towa” lies in its proximity to the nationally renowned Shimanto River, as well as in the love and care that has been put into the various local foods from the mountain (chestnuts, tea, etc.) and river (sweetfish, eel, etc.) served by the passionate staff that work there.

Roadside Station Otsuki

   Otsuki Town, located at the most western edge of Shikoku Island, is a treasure trove of nature. The town is famous for its sublime and beautiful scenery of granite and coral, and is considered a mecca of marine sports. Popular experiences are sea cruising, snorkeling and sea kayaking.

Roadside Station Konoka

   Roadside Station Konoka stands along National Road No.194 leading to Saijo City, Ehime Prefecture. It is an excellent station for drivers traveling to Ehime and is also a good starting point for climbers because it is surrounded by the Shikoku mountain range.

Roadside Station Bios Ogata

   Bios Ogata is located in Ukibuchi, Kuroshio Town, and it takes about two and a half hours by car from Kochi City. “Hinataya Market” and “Restaurant Hinataya” are two must-see locations in the roadside station.

Kinkon Tosanikki ④

A series of four-panel comics called Kinkon Tosanikki appears in the evening edition of the local Kochi Shimbun newspaper.

Kochi’s other 16 roadside stations

1. Osugi   see map
TEL: 0887-72-1417
Location: Otoyo Town, 15 minutes from Otoyo Interchange.
Characteristics: Near Osugi, one of the oldest trees in Kochi. The udon here is delicious!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Preparing for the Nankai Earthquake ③

Emergency supplies for evacuation and supplies for life in a shelter

Lifestyle Information ③ - Using a Taxi

   In the banquet season now when you have more opportunities to go out for drinks and may use a taxi more often, how do you pick one out of all the vehicles waiting for passengers downtown? There are two types of taxis that are usually running through the city. One is Kogata (small) and the other is Chugata (middle).

Let’s Make Kochi More International

Expat Column No.17
By Douglas Eric Marsalis, Owner, Chef and Manager of The Delta Blues Cafe from America

2009 Tosa-ben Musical
   I came to Japan in 2005 with the thought that I would stay just one year and go home soon after. Six years later, I am still here. I am sure that many of you find something special about Kochi just like I do such as the kind people, good food and the great culture that makes this area unique. That is why I have decided to make it my home.

Sunset Snowmen

   Have you ever seen a gigantic snowman out beyond the sea? During the winter season in Kochi Prefecture, from around the middle of November to the middle of February, you can see the sunset make a silhouette of a snowman near Cape Ashizuri and Cape Muroto.

Let’s play in the snow!

   There are not many winter-related sports in Kochi, but that does not mean you can not appreciate the snow during the winter! In northern Kochi’s Reihoku region, the snow falls freely during the winter, and if you are brave enough to drive up there you can see it for yourself. It takes about an hour and a half to get there from Kochi City. Make sure you bring snow tires!

Avocado Hot Pot

Ingredients (4 Servings):
 ・ 2 avocados
 ・ Assorted vegetables as desired


 ・ 1 avocado 
   ・ 700ml consome
 ・ 700ml milk
 ・ 1/2 box (5 servings worth) cream stew roux

Monday, December 19, 2011

Lunch Passport Part Deux

Due to popular demand, the Lunch Passport, which I have previously written about, is back!
Purchase this book for 990 yen and you can enjoy lunch at participating shops usually priced 700-1000 yen for just 500 yen. This time around, the area is limited to just Kochi City, but there are still over 60 restaurants you can explore.
It seems that numbers of these books for sale are already running low, so you’d better go find one quick! There may be some left at local bookstores, TSUTAYA, combinis and supermarkets.
A third Lunch Passport with an expanded area is also in the works, scheduled to be published sometime in spring.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Christmas Events in Kochi

“2011 Kochi Castle Glittering of Winter”
Enjoy a holy night with your family, boyfriend or girlfriend and friends surrounded by glittering illumination at Kochi Castle!
 ★Christmas Illumination
 ★Food Stands
 ★Mini Concerts
 ★Christmas Gifts (visitors of the Kaitokukan Palace by lottery)
Date: Friday, Dec 23rd-Sunday, Dec 25th (17:00-21:00 Last Entry to the Kaitokukan Palace at 20:30)
Location: Kochi Castle (1-2-1 Marunouchi, Kochi City)
Admission: 400 yen (over 18), Free (17+under)
Inquiries: Kochi Castle Park Management Center
Tel: 088-824-5701
Website (Japanese):

80th Anniversary Celebration of Ryugadou Cave “Christmas Candle Night”
This is the very first candle lighting event in Ryugadou Cave. You will see a fantastic collaboration between the primeval cave and candle lights!
 ★Candle Decorations
 ★Night Cafe
 ★Candle Making Class
 ★Mini Concerts
Date: Saturday, Dec 24th (18:00-21:00 Last entry to the Cave at 20:30)
Location: Ryugadou Cave (1405-3 Sakagawa, Tosayamada Town, Kami City)
Admission: 500 yen (over 16), Free (15+under)
Inquiries: Ryugadou Conservation Group Gururi
Tel: 0887-52-1032
Website (Japanese):

KUT +illumination presents “Xmas Event’ 11”
KUT students host this illumination event, aiming to interact with the locals. The theme of this year is “PEACE”, as about 30 thousand LED lights are on display to wish you all the peace and happiness.
 ★Candle Art on Campus
 ★Events by KUT students and laboratories (Movies, Planetarium, Electric Lab and Christmas Concerts)
 ★KUT students and the locals Cooperation Events (Paper-bag Art and Food Stands)
Date: Friday, Dec 23rd (17:00-22:00)
Location: Kochi University of Technology (185 Miyanokuchi, Tosayamada Town, Kami City)
Inquiries: KUT +illumination
Tel: 0887-53-1111

“A Tropical Christmas in Conservatory” in The Kochi Prefectural Makino Botanical Garden
Why don’t you spend a tropical Christmas in the warm conservatory while it is cold outside?
 ★Christmas Tree made of Poinsettias
 ★Decorating Christmas Plants and Flowers
 ★Plant Ornaments
Date: Friday, Dec 23rd-Sunday, Dec 25th (9:00-17:00)
Location: The Kochi Prefectural Botanical Garden (4200-6 Godaisan, Kochi City)
Admission: 700 yen (over 19), Free (18+under)
Inquiries: The Kochi Prefectural Botanical Garden
Tel: 088-882-2601
Website (Japanese):

Posted by R.I

Midori no Mercado

    The market, named in a mix of Japanese and Spanish meaning “Green Market”, contains local vegetables, delicious international food, and a wide variety of unique international and local handicrafts. Located in lush natural surroundings, locals and visitors alike are welcomed into a European style open marketplace with promises of unique finds with each new visit.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Let’s make your own Buckwheat noodle for New Year’s Eve!

Buckwheat noodle ‘’soba’’

   Many people love noodles and so do I! In Japan, soba noodle is made of buckwheat and is one of the favorites for people of all ages. Soba noodles are of darker brown color and thinner than wheat noodles such as Udon. In Japan, the unique custom is that Japanese people eat soba at home on New Year’s Eve. This traditional soba noodle dish is called Toshikoshi-Soba, meaning year-passing soba.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Kochi’s most beloved candle! Full of warmth for your heart…

Lights up candles in various colors
at night….very peacefull!
   Here is my story about how I’ve come to know Kochi’s most beloved candle. One day I was driving towards the town of Ino with my mom to see my grandparents. Half way there we stopped at the rest area called QRAUD and found a cozy shop selling candles inside; that beautiful image will stay in my mind forever.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Japanese Cultural Experience - Tea Ceremony (Sado) -

   Each year, the Tosa Yamauchi Family Treasury and Archives provides opportunities for foreign residents in Kochi to learn about Japanese traditional culture.

   This year you can learn about the history and etiquettes of "tea ceremony (sado)" and try to make powdered green tea and drink it. With explanations in English, even beginners will easily understand. Please come and experience a wonderful part of Japanese culture through tea ceremony.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Visiting Sake Warehouse

   The season for sake (rice wine) brewing has come! I instinctively bought one bottle of local sake the other day when I visited a souvenir shop of a roadside station in Kubokawa Town. Generally the brewing of sake starts in November and continues until next March, and you can have a chance to visit local sake warehouses to watch how to make Japanese rice wine and even drink a little.

Cosmos Festival

   Every year there is a Cosmos Festival in Ochicho from October the first to October the sixteenth. About 1,500,000 flowers bloom in a large park.  Cosmos in the park make a lane. We can walk and see cosmos very close up.  The air of the park is very clear because the park is encircled by the river and the mountains.

Friday, October 28, 2011

The 9th Annual MANSAI – Kochi Manga Festival 2011

Copyright © 2010 まんさい
   If you like manga, you may already know that Kochi is known as the Kingdom of Manga. Many famous manga artists sprouted from Kochi, the most well-known being Ryuichi Yokoyama, creator of Fuku-chan, and Takashi Yanase, creator of beloved Anpanman. Besides being home to a few museums inspired by these two manga artists (the Yokoyama Memorial Manga Museum, Anpanman Museum, and Poem & Märchen Gallery) Kochi also hosts a national high school manga championship called the Manga Koshien every year.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Autumn Leaves Festival

Autumn Leaves Festival with maple
trees and flowers in the back

   It is October already….the fall season has arrived! We can see that many maple trees have turned red on the streets outside; it is very beautiful. Also, it is a great time to go out and look for something fun to do!

   One of the things I highly recommend to do is to go and experience the Autumn Leaves Festival.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Odou Monkey Park

Of all the places I’ve been to in Kochi, one that sticks out the most is my visit to the monkey park in Otsuki Town. I had often seen monkeys while driving around the mountains in Kochi, but for the first time I was able to get up close and see them in a relatively wild habitat.

Friday, October 7, 2011

My Best Onsen in Kochi - Matsubakawa Onsen

   We don't have many hot springs in Kochi compared with other prefectures. But I believe that the quality of the water here is as excellent as that of famous onsen resorts such as Dogo in Ehime Pref. and Beppu in Oita Pref.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Japan Studies Program Lecture Series no.7

Eikokuji Campus of the University of Kochi 
   A gentleman of Dutch origin, Mr. Brinckmann arrived in Japan in 1950. 18 years old, he disembarked not only on an illustrious career in banking, during the years that saw Japan arise miraculously from the war's ashes, but also on a journey of emotional and cultural discovery that reawakened his old dream of becoming a writer. Having witnessed the high growth Showa era, right near its economic and political center, how does he look upon present-day Japan and its seemingly unsurmountable problems? Don't miss this rare opportunity!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Muroto Geopark

A panoramic view of the Muroto Cape
   What do you think of when you hear “geopark?” Geo comes from Greek meaning earth or land, and of course park is a large public area. However, “geopark” does not simply mean a geological park, but includes the people, culture, and even industries that revolve around and work closely with the land formation and ecosystem of that area. And lucky us, we have one of these geoparks right here in Kochi!

Preparing for the Nankai Earthquake ②

Strengthen your home (improve earthquake resistance), brace and rethink the layout of your furniture

Lifestyle Information ② - Doctor Shift System During Holidays/Nighttime

General Relief Center in Kochi City
   What will you do when you have a sudden illness during the holidays or nighttime? It is possible in Japan to dial 119 to get an ambulance to take you to a hospital free of charge, but when your situation is not so urgent or grave and you don’t need an ambulance, you can use a system which offers information about hospitals available on holidays and at night.

Kinkon Tosanikki ③

A series of four-panel comics called Kinkon Tosanikki appears in the evening edition of the local Kochi Shimbun newspaper.

Thank you Kochi for changing me into a tomato lover!

Expat Column No.16
BY Michelle Wigianto, Marunouchi High School ex-ALT from USA

   It’s only been about a week since I’ve left Kochi but I already miss it. Seeing Ryoma everywhere, the sound of the tram and trains, even the hint of fish odor in the air were a part of my life for the last three years I lived in Kochi City. In that time I learned so much, not just about living abroad or living by myself but about who I am as a person and I discovered that I like tomatoes.

Enjoy reading in autumn!

   In Japan autumn is known as the best season for reading. Why not try reading at least one book this autumn even if you are always busy? Unlike TV or movies, one of the charms of reading is that you can take your time and enjoy it at your own pace. At the Kochi International Association (KIA), there are about 1,700 foreign books mostly written in English, and all of them are possible to be checked out.


River Shrimp

Deep-fried river shrimp
   Autumn is the season when people have the biggest appetite. Kochi has so many delicious foods particularly in autumn, so I am worried about gaining weight because of eating too much…

   Talking of local dishes of Kochi, katsuo-no-tataki (light roasted bonito) is famous but kawa-ebi (river shrimp), aosa-nori (laver), unagi (eel) and ayu (sweetfish) in the Shimanto River are also famous. Of these, let me introduce you to kawa-ebi.

Marathon Kingdom Kochi

Shimanto Ultra Marathon
   Autumn, the season for sports has come! It is a good time to start exercising if you are lacking in activities everyday. I would recommend you do yoga or walking which can be begun easily.

   I have been crazy for marathons since some years ago. Kochi, needless to say, is a Marathon Kingdom! There are so many marathon races throughout the year. Let me introduce you to three interesting marathon races held in autumn.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Great Figures in Kochi - Frank Champion(1884-1917)

   Frank Champion is an American. I’m ashamed to say that it was not until just recently that I learned of his achievements and the stone monument erected in his honor in Kochi City. I would firstly like to apologize for my ignorance, and write a short article so that as many people as possible can know about this figure.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

International Rapport Square 2011

Last year's Kokusai Fureai Hiroba 
   On the 23th of October (Sun.), at Hirome Ichiba in Kochi City, KIA (Kochi International Association) will be holding the "Kokusai Fureai Hiroba 2011" (International Rapport Square), an event devoted to international cooperation. 

Thursday, September 8, 2011

The 29th Annual Cosmos Festival in Ochi Town

   The Cosmos Festival is a famous event that has come to represent the town of Ochi. It will be held in the main arena of the Miya-no-mae park. The festival boasts around 1.5 million Cosmos plants, which sway gently in the Autumn breeze. There will also be horse-drawn carriage rides and food and drink stalls. A perfect family day out.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Dos and Don’ts in Onsen

   Here are some basic things that you should refrain from or be careful of while in an onsen.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Onsen (hot spring) - Haruno-no-yu

Open air bath at Haruno-no-yu
   It’s located in Kochi City and one of the most popular hot springs in Kochi. There are a lot of different types of baths, and the sand bath is particularly worth trying. After lying down in the hot sand for 30 minutes, you’ll break out in a sweat and will feel that your body is lighter.

Onsen (hot spring) - Auberge Tosayama

Open air bath at Auberge Tosayama
   Are you tired from the summer heat? If so, why don’t you refresh your body by taking a hot spring? In Kochi there are a variety of hot spa facilities. Most of them warm cold spring water that gushes out from the earth, but the quality of the water is excellent. Surely enough your fatigue will be washed away and you will feel deep satisfaction.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Silent Comedian GAMARJOBAT to come to KOCHI!!

Kochi City cultural plaza Cul-Port
   Do you know a recent popular Japanese silent comedian duo named GAMARJOBAT which means Hello in Georgian? Their style is unique. One of them is red mohican haircut man Ketch! and the other is yellow mohican haircut man HIRO-PON and both are wearing business suits.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Many good memories that will stay forever

Pictured with a SGG volunteer guide
   In August 2011, two young Japanese Americans whose ancestors were from Kochi visited Japan to trace the roots of their family living in USA and experience some cultures of Kochi including Yosakoi dancing and Tosa dialect.

   Here are reports of their impressions they got during their stay in Kochi.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The 28th Annual Okawa Village Beef Festival (Shanikusai)

Have you ever wondered what people get up to in the smallest village in Japan? Okawa village has a population of around 400 people, and while it might not be the most bustling of metropolises, there’s at least one day out of the year that makes the long trek up into the deep interior of the Reihoku region worth it.

Mikan-gari (Picking Mandarin Oranges)

   If you ask a local what fruit is Kochi’s best, most will say “mandarin oranges”. You can pick this fruit at Tosa-no-Kochi-no-Kudamonobatake, in Kagami-cho, Konan city.

   This mandarin orange grove is spread over 8 hectares, with straight rows of trees spreading in all directions. It is as if you have been transported to a scene in California.

Ringo-gari (Apple picking)

   There are only a few farmers who grow apples in Kochi. Our climate is a little too warm for apple growing. But in Sakawa Town and Tosa Town, nonetheless, some farmers cultivate apples. Let me introduce to you one farm from each town above that offers you such a service.

Nashi-gari (Pear Picking)

   We can pick nashi pears at the following place:

Tsuchimoto Kanko Kajuen
   This orchard has the following types of pears. Kosui (very sweet and juicy; picking season: mid to late August), Hosui (sweet and slightly tart, picking season: late August to mid September), Shinko (juicy and tart, picking season: early to mid October).
   Apple picking is also available at this orchard.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Summer Travel to Kashiwajima

   Have you ever been to Kashiwajima island? Kashiwajima is in the southwest of Kochi Prefecture. You can see beautiful ocean there. And you can also see many tropical fish even in shallow water below your knees.

   Every summer, I go to Kashiwajima with my family. We enjoy swimming and snorkeling in crystal clear water there. We really love this beach.

Budo-gari (Grape Picking)

   Various kinds of grapes are cultivated in Kochi, including Campbell, Kyoho and Berry A. If you want to pick grapes, then go to either of the following places:

Friday, August 12, 2011

Kochi’s Manga Culture

Yusuke Aoyagi, cartoonist
   Kochi has produced many famous manga (comic) writers and is sometimes called the “Manga Kingdom”. No sooner than you set foot in this “Manga Kingdom” than you will come across some sort of manga-related sight. For example, Manga Koshien (Inter High School Manga Championship), the Anpanman Museum, the Koshin Manga Dojo (Kochi Newspaper Co. Manga Gym), Manga Railway, Ryuichi Yokoyama Memorial Manga Museum etc.