Although Kochi has its fair share of intriguing sites, it often does not come to tourist's minds to visit the prefecture, criminally overlooked at the expense of the usual subjects, such as Tokyo, Osaka, and Kyoto.
And that's understandable if you're a first time visitor or you're only here for a short period of time. But if you're a veteran Japanese traveler or if you've got some time to spare, why not take advantage of the new "Kochi Family Premium Travel Coupon" and explore?
Located in the Shikoku region, Kochi is perhaps best known for being the birthplace of the legendary Japanese revolutionary Sakamoto Ryoma, one of the most important figures in modern Japanese history; his statue on Katsurahama Beach is arguably the Mecca of Ryoma fanatics. Kochi Castle is one of the oldest castles in Japan still standing. Two notable activities in Kochi include whale watching and the famous Yosakoi Dance Festival every August. If you're on a long vacation (and want some exercise), try the Shikoku O-henro, a pilgrimage of 88 temples that runs through Kochi (16 of the temples are located within the prefecture) and covers all of Shikoku, spanning 1200 km long. And while you're in Kochi, be sure to try katsuo tataki, a dish of seasoned and lightly grilled bonito sashimi.
Feel like going to Kochi now? If you are, be sure to use the Kochi Family Premium Travel Coupon (高知家プレミアム旅行券 - Kochi-ke Premium Ryokou-ken), on sale from May 25th 2015. Why the name "Kochi Family," you might ask. That's because the coupons are part of the tourism PR campaign of the same name, with the slogan "Kochi Prefecture is one big family," promoting the warm nature of the Kochi people.
So what's so great about the coupons, aside from its cute name? The coupons can be purchased for 5,000 yen - but have a value of 10,000 yen (10 x 500 yen coupons for lodging-related expenses + 10 x 500 yen coupons for sightseeing-related expenses)! They can be used at over 400 facilities all over Kochi, and are valid from June 1st until November 30th.
After purchasing the coupons at any major convenience store nationwide (in the form of a ticket), tourists can then exchange the ticket for the booklet of coupons at their lodging. An added bonus - the coupons also come with a Ryoma Passport, an item that should have avid Ryoma buffs scrambling to Kochi to add it to their collection. The Ryoma Passports can be obtained after receiving 3 stamps at certain sites and activities and can be used to earn privileges at over 500 Kochi facilities. But beware - only 77,000 of these coupons are available - 60,000 of them currently on sale, and the additional 17,000 scheduled for release in early June 2015 and early August.
Don't miss out on this opportunity to explore one of Japan's most unique prefectures for half price!