|Kochi Station (South exit)|
JR Kochi station looks like an ordinary train station at first glance, but I was surprised to hear that the famous architect Hiroshi Naito designed it. The first thing you see when getting off from the streetcar / tram at Kochi station is the south side of the train station. It is made from v-shaped steel frames. The station is sometimes referred to as “whale dome” because of the way it looks like whale bones.
When people talk about Kochi, the word “goukai“ (splendid, hearty) is often brought up. Kochi’s men and women are referred to as “igossou” (a tough, stubborn man) and “hachikin” (a strong, independent woman) respectively, Kochi has its own unique way of eating the straw fire seared “katsuo no tataki” (seared bonito), and the way the station building opens up to the outside is surely rare in Japan.
|Kochi Station (North exit)|
When you go under the railway and head north expecting the same style of construction as earlier to be on the other side, there is a large arch-shaped wooden roof that covers everything instead, giving a closed off impression. The large roof not only covers the station platform, but extends all the way out to the open square in front of the station. The splendid wood dome emphasizes the fact that Kochi is Japan’s number one forest prefecture, and I thought the design perfectly fits Kochi’s rainy summers.