Muroto Geopark A Place of Natural Beauty
October 11, 2016
Kochi Prefecture is known for its natural beauty. The coastlines – from Shimanto in the west to Muroto in the east – are stunning, waterfalls abound further inland, and some of Japan's clearest and bluest rivers, namely the Shimanto and Niyodo Rivers, run through the vividly green hills that are dotted with plum or cherry blossoms in the spring.
Gyodo-Kuromi Coast: Water ripple marks that formed underwater
Muroto Geopark showcases not only Kochi's natural beauty, but also its fascinating geological heritage. Muroto is a subduction zone: a place where one section of the earth's crust goes below another. It is here, where Shikoku collides with the Pacific Ocean in a spectacular coastline, that new land is formed. Long ago, as the plate beneath the Pacific Ocean sank, the land was gradually lifted up by large earthquakes along the Nankai Trough. The rock formations left behind are a beautiful record of how our planet is always changing.
Turbidites – sedimentary rocks formed in the deep sea
“Pillow” lava, so called because of the rounded, pillow-like shape of the magmatic rock
Underwater Caves and the Monk Kukai
Many of Muroto's caves were formed while the land was still underwater. It was in two of these caves that the monk Kukai (the name means sky and sea) is said to have achieved enlightenment.
Mikurodo cave where Kukai achieved enlightenment
Jizo Statues – the names of ships wrecked at sea are engraved on the bases
What is a Geopark?
Subtropical Vegetation – Ficus superba
Since 2011, Muroto has been a UNESCO Geopark. A geopark is an area that has been protected because of its international geological significance. These areas highlight the earth's dynamism and the connection between the people who live there and the earth.
Muroto Global Geopark Centre where visitors can learn more about this fascinating area
The perfect lunch: Geo Curry at Shittoroto made with vegetables grown in Muroto
Why You Should Visit
Visitors to Muroto are encouraged to consider the fascinating rock features that were millennia in the making and to appreciate the area's natural beauty. Muroto Geopark is the perfect destination for travellers interested in immersing themselves in nature and experiencing the local culture that is bound to it.
Tubeworm fossils are embedded in the rock from when it was underwater
Muroto Global Geopark Center
1810-2 Murotomisaki-cho, Muroto City. Kochi Prefecture
Access by public transit:
From Kochi Station (高知駅) take the Dosan Line to Gomen Station (後免駅）. Stay on the same train. It will switch to the Gomen-Nahari Line. Get off at Nahari Station（奈半利駅）. Take a bus bound for Muroto （室戸）or Kannouri and get off at Muroto.
Nahari-Muroto Bus Schedule:
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.