Japan, Kochi Prefecture, Kochi Castle

Getty Images/amana images RM


Top choice in Shikoku

Kōchi-jō is one of just a dozen castles in Japan to have survived with its original tenshu-kaku (keep) intact. The castle was originally built during the first decade of the 17th century by Yamanouchi Katsutoyo, who was appointed daimyō by Tokugawa Ieyasu after he fought on the victorious Tokugawa side in the Battle of Sekigahara in 1600. A major fire destroyed much of the original structure in 1727; the castle was largely rebuilt between 1748 and 1753.

The castle was the product of an age of peace – it never came under attack and for the remainder of the Tokugawa period it was more like a stately home than a military fortress. The fee is for entry to the castle itself; it's free to walk in the surrounding grounds.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Shikoku attractions

1. Kōchi Castle Museum of History

0.16 MILES

This new museum (opened in 2017), celebrating the history of Kōchi castle, is an architectural achievement in its own right. Entry is free to the museum…

2. Sunday Market

0.33 MILES

Our favourite street market in Shikoku is 300 years old and takes place every Sunday along 1.3km of Ōte-suji, the main road leading to the castle. Around…

3. Harimaya-bashi

0.67 MILES

This tiny reconstructed bridge from the Edo period is renowned throughout Japan thanks to a romantic song in which it features. For older Japanese people,…

4. Temple 31: Chikurin-ji

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6. Godaisan

2.91 MILES

Several kilometres east of the town centre is the mountain of Godaisan, where you can enjoy excellent views of the city from a lookout point (展望台). Near…

7. Sakamoto Ryōma Memorial Museum

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At Katsura-hama, this museum tells the story of hometown hero Sakamoto Ryōma. Born in Kōchi in 1835, Ryōma brought about the alliance between the Satsuma …

8. Katsura-hama

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Katsura-hama is a popular beach 12km south of central Kōchi at the point where Kōchi's harbour empties out into the bay. Strong currents prohibit swimming…