Kōchi (高知) is a smart, compact city with a deserved reputation for enjoying a good time. The castle here is largely undamaged and remains a fine example of Japanese architecture. Excellent access to Muroto-misaki, Ashizuri-misaki and the Iya Valley, and easy day trips to caves, beaches and mountains make Kōchi a perfect base for travels around the island. Also claimed by Kōchi is a samurai of great national significance – during the Meiji Restoration, Sakamoto Ryōma was instrumental in bringing down the feudal government.
The central part of the city is 12km north and inland from the sea and the liveliest part of town is where the tramlines cross near Harimaya-bashi, a tiny red replica of a bridge made famous by song and film in Japan. The main Obiyamachi shopping arcade runs perpendicular to Harimayabashi-dōri. This action is about 1km south of JR Kōchi station.