We’re lucky enough to have family in this beautiful place or I might never have heard of it which is why if you want something off the well-traveled path in Japan, Kochi is definitely a place for you and your family. Kochi is a small city in Southern Japan, and it is absolutely stunning. We’ve been here a few times before, and I really wanted my sons to meet their relatives. One day I want to come back and do the 88 shrines tour-a walking tour that might take around a month, but sounds peaceful and amazing. (Maybe this will be a trip for the hubby and I when the kids go to college, right?) It was easy to reach by train. This time we came by train through Okayama but we have taken the Sunrise Seto night train from Tokyo in the past too. (Both are available with the JR pass.)
With our kids, we just wanted them to see our family.
My grandpa’s brother and his family still lives here as well as many of my mother’s cousins and their families too.
When they were young, my grandma and grandpa lived a short walk from each other and our families still live in these houses so it was fun walking along the streets with my kids and watching them interact with their relatives. One of our little cousins is only a year older than my guys and it was amazing to see how easily kids just play, even though they don’t speak the same language.
We stayed a night at the Nishitetsu Inn which was very clean and comfortable and it had a great deli downstairs for breakfast items too. (I think the breakfast buffet there is only around $7usd per person!) I liked it because it was right next to the famous Harimayabashi bridge which is popular because of some love story about a monk and the girl he adored.
We also stayed at a hotel that one of my uncles manages and it was totally spectacular too. We had a lovely meal here with family and our gigantic room had both western and traditional Japanese sleeping areas.
The Bean thought the kids’ pajamas here were pretty cool too.
We visited Katsurahama Beach, where one year my husband and I tied wishes on the fence near the shrine. The guys enjoyed running in the sand and throwing pebbles in the water until life-guards whistled at us to get away from the water. Apparently the surf is quite dangerous here.
The boys loved a morning we spent at the Makino Botanical Gardens. My cousin made some bentos and we stopped by a convenience store for cold drinks and we packed a picnic to enjoy on a shady bluff.
I loved the Hirome Market where we saw the famous (and delicious) Tatataki being flame roasted.
I wish we had more time to explore the main street. There were so many neat stores in this area and yummy places to eat. There are also cool little streetcars that go around Kochi that come from all over the world and I know the guys will definitely want to ride them the next time we visit.
Kochi is famous for Yuzu( a small citrus fruit that tastes like a flowery lime that’s become more popular in the US lately) and I couldn’t get enough of the Yuzu ice cream.
We climbed to the top of Kochi Castle, one of only 12 remaining original castles in Japan.
And the boys sampled a lot of Ice CRIN. It’s a Kochi version of ice cream and I remember having it as a teenager on my first visit. I think it’s supposed to be vanilla but it tastes a little like banana and on a hot day of walking there are few things as utterly refreshing.
It was difficult to say goodbye to family after our short visit but I know that we’ll be back and that they’ll come soon to visit us. This is why we travel with our guys-the world becomes smaller, we make wonderful connections and hopefully nurture enough of the travel bug in them that they continue a life full of adventure as they grow up.