If you're not a fan of big cities, or just need a break from the constant crowd, the much slower pace of Kochi City will be a welcome addition to your travel itinerary in Japan.
Kochi City is the capital of Kochi Prefecture, and has a population of about 343,000. On first look, Kochi is not much different looking from most Japanese cities. Sure, the sky seems to be bigger and more blue, but not much else jumps out on first look. What is different and makes this distant, coastal city beyond the mountains worthy of a visit? The answer to that would have to be the experiences you stand to gain by coming here.
You can go to Hirome Ichiba downtown, and find yourself amongst a very friendly bunch of locals and travelers alike. Experience the people, food, and drink of Kochi all in one place. You can share a table with someone, and pretty soon feel like old friends should one of you take the initiative.
If you come in August, you can experience the Yosakoi Dance Festival. Find yourself in the middle of thousands of dancers in colorful uniforms as they dance down the streets behind large trucks that are blasting their version of the Yosakoi song. The excitement of the festival will soon cause you to forget the fact that you're dripping in sweat. Or, let Kochi City be your portal to experience the natural beauty that exists on the surrounding beaches and in the peaceful lush mountains of Kochi prefecture. Get lost in nature, and soon you can find hidden waterfalls with clear pools for a relaxing swim, isolated campsites perfect for enjoying the quiet forests, or something a little more sporty like surfing and whitewater rafting. As far as tourist sites to see, please check the Kochi articles for a full list, but a couple of very common ones are Kochi Castle and Sunday Market--both conveniently located on the same street. Kochi City is at the heart of genuine travel. It isn't about making a busy schedule, rushing around to see this or that. Rather, it's about slowing down, following serendipity, and making friends and experiences that add to the quality of your overall life. If that sounds like the travel experience you are looking for, Kochi City should definitely make it onto your places to visit list while in Japan.