Friday, September 4, 2020

Enjoy an Adventure Along the Niyodo River

Kochi Prefectural CIR Minda Dettman

   This summer, Mitsui (a KIA staff member) and I attempted rafting along the Niyodo river! At times quiet and at times rough, the river provided an afternoon filled with excitement, as we rafted down in a small boat. Recently, you might find yourself staying at home to avoid crowds, but rafting is an activity that can be enjoyed in small groups, making it perfect for this summer. Now, let’s go back to the beginning of our story as we trace our rafting adventure.

Let’s go!

   First, Mitsui and I headed to Sakawa Station. There, we were picked up by Hiro, the instructor at Niyodo Adventure—the company running the experience we were to participate in. Laughing and talking merely, he drove us to the abandoned school that Niyodo Adventure is run out of.

Enjoy Nature and Animals at Mount Yokokura

Kochi Prefecture CIR Han Jeonggyu

   Recently as time near other people is limited, time spent at home has increased. Hiking, therefore, may be the perfect activity to have fun outside yet avoid crowds. I especially recommend Mount Yokokura (774 m above sea level), in Ochi Town. With multiple parking lots at different elevations, one can choose the distance you want to hike. Some of the courses can be quite difficult, making it the perfect mountain for both beginners and those looking for a challenge.
In front of the giant cedars at Sugihara Jinja
In front of the giant cedars at Sugihara Jinja

   Slightly up the trail from the third parking lot, you will find Sugihara Jinja, a mysterious shrine surrounded by giant cedar trees more than 500 years old. The shrine features many points of interest, such as lanterns engraved with the sun and moon, two stone monuments that tell the history of the shrine’s repairs, and sculptures of Japanese folk tales and the zodiac animals. In addition, Mount Yokokura is the location Emperor Antoku is said to have dwelt in secret, after plunging into the sea when chased by opposing forces. He is said to have left behind many legends, the remains of a residence, and a burial site. Emperor Antoku’s presumed burial ground has yet a different aura from Sugihara Jinja.

Let’s use the Digital Library!

Kochi Prefecture CIR Valerie Teo

   I’m hungering for books from the library… but I can’t bring myself to head there because the coronavirus is just too scary. Are you having such thoughts? If you are, let me tell you something! As long as you live, work, or study in Kochi, there’s a  digital library that you can use for free!

   It’s always so exciting to borrow new books, that I am motivated to travel to the  library no matter how far it is. However, when the due date draws near, I find myself thinking that it’s troublesome to travel so far. The digital library allows me to borrow and return books easily. This world has indeed become a convenient place!

1 First, make a “Joint Library Card”
   This is the card you need to borrow books from the library. You might already have this card. If you don’t, fret not. To make one, all you have to do is to head down to Otepia’s service counter with something that can verify your name and address, such as your residence card! (You can also apply for this Joint Library Card by post—together with your Digital Library Card application.)

2 Next, make a Digital Library Account
   There are three ways to do this. ① In person at Otepia’s service counter. ② By post. ③ By email—only for those who already have a Joint Library Card. If you choose to apply via email, ensure the email is sent to with the email subject written as “電子図書館申込” (Denshi Toshokan Moushikomi). Include your name and your Joint Library Card number in the email. Once your application is processed, a Digital Library ID Card containing your User ID and Initial Password will be sent to you by post within 10 days.

3 Now for the actual usage
   Access from your smart devices and log in with the given User ID and Initial Password. You can now proceed to borrow e-books! For easy searching, the books are sorted into categories like history, social science, engineering, the arts, language, literature, and more! Not only are there Japanese books but books in other languages as well!
   Let’s enjoy the world of e-books from the comforts of our home! :)

Living in Kochi Q&A: Let’s make use of a promotional event! ~You can enjoy cheap activities and lodgings in Kochi~

   Did you know that a variety of money-saving promotional events are available for you to help revitalize Kochi through tourism?
   In this issue, we will introduce a promotional event in Ochi Town. There is no doubt that this is the perfect opportunity to try out activities or stay overnight in the Ochi Town area.
   Rich in beautiful nature, Ochi Town is the perfect place for hiking mountains or playing by the riverside.

Who can sign up for this promotion?
• Those who reside in Kochi Prefecture
• Those who are able to share their experiences with hashtags on social media, such as Facebook, Instagram, etc.

Points to Note
• The promotional event ends on March 31, 2021 (with some summer-only activities)
• Discounts cannot be used by the same person twice for the same activity
• You will need a reservation to enjoy the accomodations and activities.
Make sure to mention “kyanpēn wo tsukaimasu” on the phone or on the website, when making your reservation.

Here are some examples of things to do!

Snow Peak’s Rafting Tour at Niyodo River Camping Field in Ochi
*Experience rafting here!

Snow Peak’s Kawano Rest Stop in Ochi
* From here, you can view lodges designed by the world-famous architect Kengo Kuma and enjoy the changes in scenery across the seasons.

Neko no Omoi
A guest house in Ochi
*Pet cats at this guest house!

   If there is more you want to know, please contact the Ochi-cho Tourist Association or KIA.

【Ochi-cho Tourist Association】
1736-7 Ochi Ko, Ochi-cho, Takaoka-gun
Tel: 0889-26-1004

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