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Kochi (高知) is a city in Japan. It is the capital of the Kochi Prefecture. It is inside the Shikoku Region. Kochi city is located on the southern side of the region and is the smallest of Japan's four major islands. It is bordered by lush green mountains to the north and the Pacific Ocean to the south. The population of the city is 335,341 with a total land mass of 264 square kilometers. The city flower is the Winter Hazel and the city tree is the China berry tree.

The Kochi Prefecture is over 84% forested. It produces high-quality cedar and Japanese cypress. Modern wood processing technology has given rise to vigorous wood product industry in this area. It produces everything from buildings to order-made furniture to interior finishing’s to small folk crafts and toys. Another aspect of industry that is important to this area is Coral. Once banned, the harvesting is now done using modern techniques and has developed into a major industry.


People have been living in this area since neolithic times, but over a thousand years ago this city did not exist because of geographical reasons. The modern day Kochi used to lie under the Urado Bay. During this time the Kagami River flowed into the Urado Bay around the Otakasa Hill. Over the next 400 years sediment build up made what is known as a swampy area.

In 1588, Chosokabe Motochika built a castle on top of Otakasa hill and used the surrounding area as the seat of his government. Because of constant flooding, he decided to move locations after only three years. He moved to the old Urado Castle at Katsurahama.

In 1601, Yamanouchi Kazutoyo moved to Tosa. Warriors of that period earned rewards in title and koku. Land was measured not by its size, but also by its productivity in rice production. Yamanouchi's loyalty to Tokugawa Ieyasu earned him a 240,000 koku domain of Tosa. The government site was moved back to the Otakasa area and Kochi Castle was built. Since this time the city has grown and flourished as the capital of the prefecture, economically, culturally and has came to administrate the entire area.

Points of Interest

  • Sakamoto Ryoma Memorial Museum was completed in 1991 to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the birth of Sakamota Ryoma. The idea was thought of in 1985. The buildings architecture is the result of an open design competition. The exhibits are laid out in a way to show the stages of Ryoma's remarkable life.
  • Kochi Castle is a city landmark. From the top of the donjon visitors can enjoy a very beautiful view. In 1727 the castle suffered heavy fire, but was rebuilt 25 years later. This is in fact one of the oldest intact castles in Japan. The kaitokukan now houses cultural treasures of Tosa. This is also the home of the Prefectural Library and the Kochi Literary Museum.

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