Kochi Castle – Four Hundred Years of Tosa History

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August 22, 2016


Located near Hirome at the end of Otetsuji Street where the weekly Sunday Market is held, Kochi Castle has been watching over Kochi City since the Edo Period – close to four hundred years.

Past and Present

The original castle was built between 1601 and 1611 by Tosa lord Yamauchi Katsutoyo after the Tokugawa Shogunate's victory at the Battle of Sekigahara, but it was burnt down in 1727 and reconstructed over the following few decades.

Statue of Yamauchi Katsutoyo

The reconstructed castle is what you see today. It is one of only twelve intact castles left in Japan, and the only one with all of its main buildings (called the honmaru or inner citadel) still preserved.

Otemon Gate with Central Tower

As you approach Kochi Castle, the 18.5 metre tall tower rises up above the Otemon Gate. Grand and graceful, the gate is made of large pillars and stones. It is reinforced with decorative, but also strong and defensive, copper plates. The gate is positioned so that enemies cannot see into the grounds.

Inside the Castle

The inside of the castle had been turned into a museum where visitors can learn more about the castle.

Wave Transom Window. Carved by Kochi sculptor Takechi Jinschichi, it captures the movement of the waves out in Tosa Bay.

Museum inside the castle

Kimono and Poster from 2006 NHK Period Drama Komyogatsu in which actress Nakama Yukie potrayed Katsutoyo’s wife Chiyo.

Tatami rooms looking out onto a small garden

From the top of the tower visitors can gaze out over Kochi City. The view is spectacular, especially on a clear day, but even in rainy weather the fog-covered hills and cityscape still have a certain charm.

View from the top of Kochi Castle


Address: 1-2-1 Marunouchi, Kochi City 780-0850

By tram:

The closest tram stop is Kochijo-mae. From Kochi Station, take the tram to Harimayabashi. Transfer and continue west to Kochijo-mae.

By bus:

From Kochi Station take the Tosa-den bus bound for Kochi Castle and get off at “Kochijo-mae”.

On foot:

From Kochi Station head south across the river, and turn right (west) on Otesuji Street. From there walk straight until you come to the castle. It’s about a 25 minute walk.

Tel: 088 824 5701

Admission: 420 yen

Hours: 9am-5.pm (last entry 4.30pm)

Sarah Lemmon

Currently working as an ALT (Assistant Language Teacher) in Kochi City, Sarah is a Canadian expat who spends her free time exploring Kochi Prefecture and trying to devise a better way to keep the tanukis out of her garden. She enjoys going to local festivals and eating too much mochi.

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