Kochi…amazing Castle - we need another night - Six Wheels Through Japan Part 2 - CycleBlaze

November 12, 2023

Kochi…amazing Castle - we need another night

We chose to stay a second time at a JR Clement Hotel since we  had such a good experience in Imabari.  We particularly loved the hotel in Imabari as it embraced the bike touring culture due to its location at the start of the Shimanami Kaido route. This one didn’t disappoint as they offered a dedicated parking area for bikes in a secure place. Yeah! The Kochi hotel is new, very sophisticated and features lovely local art.   Another perk of this hotel was a full breakfast served to us in their dining room.

Service in Japan tends to be exemplary. The woman who checked us in to the hotel stood out in this way. When we asked where to park our trikes, she left her station, and went with us. It turned out this was quite a walk as the parking area is at the back. Picture this….she ran the whole way, in high heels and kept up a conversation with us typing in to google translate as she ran.  We rode slowly alongside her in awe of her elegance and stamina under pressure. 

We realized it would be quite a trek back to the lobby. Once again  she came to our rescue.   “Just go this way through this door…don’t worry.” Well, we trekked through their nice restaurant, full with the dinner rush, toting our panniers and helmets. Nobody was perturbed by our presence

Barry’s choice for breakfast….the raw egg threw him a bit, but a note was included for foreigners like us. Mix the egg into the rice, add soy sauce and enjoy.
Heart 1 Comment 0
Mary Ellen had the “toast meal” option. It was very good. We love the tasty small side dishes…good ingredients used.
Heart 2 Comment 0
Should we return, we will try the sashimi breakfast. Somehow we missed it on the menu.
Heart 2 Comment 0
The hotel was full of interesting local art
Heart 1 Comment 0
Packed and ready to go….maybe.
Heart 3 Comment 0
The Statues of the Three Warriors have a commanding presence near the train station. Esteemed samurai who are credited with bringing about Japan’s modernization. We could appreciate their significance by the awe given to them by Japanese visitors.
Heart 3 Comment 0

We packed up and set out early intending to make some distance today. But, as it happened, we were enticed to stay another night as Kochi has much to offer. We started with a visit to Kochi Castle. Unlike most castles in Japan, this one is mostly intact and has survived for centuries. 

Built in 1601 and in use from 1611 to 1868, it is set on top of Otakayama Hill in the centre of Kochi city.   We wandered into the grounds and realized right away that we would regret not staying and giving it the time it deserved. This Castle survived WW2 unscathed and it is the only Castle in Japan to have all of the original buildings still standing from its reconstruction in 1729. 

Ryomo, one of the three Samurai, was sentenced to death by seppuku (suicide by disembowelling). He remains beloved to,this day.
Heart 1 Comment 0
Heart 0 Comment 0
Yamauchi Katsutoyo was a beloved, long serving leader who,died in 1601. This statue is featured soon after you enter the Castle grounds.
Heart 1 Comment 0
His wife Chio is held in high esteem as having been a good wife, and partner.Her husband was a young lord with little money. She knew that it was important for his success as a leader in battle, that he have a good horse and she used her dowry to buy him a thoroughbred horse to impress his superiors. Also, she risked her life to provide her husband with secret information during the war. Their positive legacy endures.
Heart 2 Comment 0
We are getting used to a lot of exercise travelling in Japan. Cycling is often hilly, circuitous yet rewarding and touring on foot has its challenges…100’s of steps at Temples and Kochi Castle is built up a hill and the steps to the tower are tall and steep….yet rewarding!
Heart 3 Comment 0
This piece was created for the TV series created about their life together.
Heart 1 Comment 0
A TV series was made about Lord Katautoyo and his wife Chio.
Heart 1 Comment 0
Heart 1 Comment 0
Heart 1 Comment 0
The view from the top of the castle was stunning
Heart 4 Comment 0
Loved this detail on the roof line. The Castle is said to be a living insight of the Edo period with free rein given to artistic creativity. The carving in the woodwork, the roof design, etc are all examples.
Heart 3 Comment 0

Climbing to the tower is a commitment. There are several very steep flights of stairs and the height between steps is often a foot…sometimes higher. 

Another view from the Castle tower.
Heart 2 Comment 0
Heart 3 Comment 0
Heart 0 Comment 0
Heart 1 Comment 0
A ceremonial historic robe
Heart 1 Comment 0
Visitors to the castle have to remove their shoes before going inside.
Heart 2 Comment 0
Kochi Castle served as the centre of power for the Tosa domain from 1601 to 1871. The main keep and central structure were destroyed by fire in 1777 and reconstruction started immediately. It offers a view into the classic Edo period, serving both military fortification and residence.
Heart 3 Comment 0
Happy we stayed on for a second night. We are having a great day exploring the Castle and Kochi.
Heart 5 Comment 0
We noticed these roosters around Kochi
Heart 2 Comment 0

Another place of interest for us in Kochi is the Hirome Food Market. After we finished touring the Castle we headed off in search of this landmark spot. This indoor market features over 6o restaurants and shops. It is a hive of industry and crowded with hungry people. It was magical. We had lunch here and had a great time exploring this special culinary treasure.

Large wooden tables with benches are set up throughout and this open style allows you to wander, select what you want from multiple spots and eat where you like.

If you are ever in Kochi and want some great food and a memorable experience look for the building with the cat above the door. You have arrived at Hirome Market
Heart 2 Comment 0
Heart 3 Comment 0
This place had a long line so we gave it a try. The fellow is searing bonito which takes about 90 seconds. He uses straw as fuel. The flames can rise up to 6 feet.
Heart 4 Comment 1
Charmaine RuppoltInteresting to use straw as fuel!
Reply to this comment
7 months ago
The aroma is tantalizing. The source of the fire is burning straw.
Heart 3 Comment 0
OMG…melt in your mouth deliciousness. Over 400 lbs of bonito are seared daily and is sourced from the Myo Zhima ship, which gives this eatery its name. The bonito is served with green onions, slices of garlic and ginger , and either salt or soy sauce.
Heart 4 Comment 0
We noticed that the green items were popular…blue tempura (crunch and tasty) . The chicken was really good as well.
Heart 1 Comment 2
Susan JamesWhat is blue tempura? Is it spinach?
Reply to this comment
8 months ago
Barry BartlettI was unable to discover what, but I agree it is probably spinach. A bit salty, very crunchy and subtle flavour. A perfect complement to the bonito. So delicious.
Reply to this comment
8 months ago
This very successful restaurant with the seared bonito has its own ship and fishermen.
Heart 2 Comment 2
Susan JamesWe're definitely going here.
Reply to this comment
8 months ago
Barry BartlettTo Susan JamesYou must…a highlight.
Reply to this comment
8 months ago
Some stands sold only drinks or confectionery items, but most had seafood in some form.
Heart 0 Comment 0
Heart 0 Comment 0
These “haystacks” are created from sticky potato straws. They were part of a contest and many shops had one on display.
Heart 2 Comment 0
Heart 0 Comment 0
A stall selling odon.
Heart 2 Comment 0
These items with colourfully enhanced ingredients confuse us. We think that it is fish cake sushi
Heart 1 Comment 2
Susan JamesIt is fish cake but the sign says to pair it with beer and highball drinks for a little snack.
Reply to this comment
8 months ago
Barry BartlettOk, will do!
Reply to this comment
8 months ago
Heart 1 Comment 0
Heart 1 Comment 0
Mary Ellen had a long conversation with the woman at this stall about what to order. Neither of the participants knew what the other one was saying and Mary Ellen wasn’t sure what she had ordered but it was delicious. It was a bit of a comedy show…in her attempt to make her understand, the woman laboriously wrote in Japanese the name of each item and looked at Mary Ellen expectantly. Rather than give up, ME just pointed to two of her entries, not having any idea….the woma was very pleased at their successful encounter.
Heart 2 Comment 0
Ryomo the Samaruri stands guard. A few shops featured clothing.
Heart 1 Comment 0
Heart 1 Comment 0
Heart 0 Comment 0
It is a great place where strangers can become friends over food and drink
Heart 1 Comment 0
Mandarins for sale….always delicious? I don’t know how we can adjust to eating mandarins that we can get at home.
Heart 2 Comment 0

Today's ride: 15 km (9 miles)
Total: 702 km (436 miles)

Rate this entry's writing Heart 4
Comment on this entry Comment 0