About an hour and a half southwest of Kochi city by car, there's a little town, Nakatosa, along the major road on the coast called the 56. Nakatosa is a fishing town positioned in the middle of a small bay with mountains and hills all around. On top of a hill above Nakatosa's fishing wharf and the Pacific ocean is Ryokan/onsen called Kuroshio Honjin.
Named after the Kuroshio current, the current that comes up from the South Pacific and keeps Kochi's waters so warm, Kuroshio Honjin is an idyllic location for enjoying some of Kochi's many pleasures—great local food, beautiful scenery, and the relaxation the slow paced life has to offer.
Kuroshio Honjin is a beautiful, Japanese style modern building. If busy, the onsen may get crowded fairly quickly as it is not that large, but I've never seen it busy on my three visits. While soaking in the hot salty water of the rotenburo, the outdoor bath, the Pacific Ocean is just beyond the ledge creating the impression that perhaps the world is your bath.
If you stay the night here, the best thing to do is get up early the next morning at about 5:30 and head to the bath. From there, you can watch the sunrise while all of the local fishermen bring in their morning catches in boats that seem to silently glide above the water.
As with many ryokan like this, staying the night is a little more expensive than most travelers want to pay on a continued basis along their trip. If you've got the budget, though, Kuroshio Honjin is one where you'll want to stay.
You'll have two options to choose from when selecting a room. You can either stay in the beautiful Japanese rooms with tatami mats, or up the hill a ways to stay in one of the cute wooden cottages. For two staying on a weekend or public holiday, the Japanese room with dinner and breakfast included will cost you about 16,800 yen per person. If you decide to stay in a cottage, it will be 14,700 yen per person. Weekdays are a little cheaper, and probably less crowded, so try to aim for that if your schedule is flexible.
When I stayed, we chose to stay in a cottage. I'm personally glad we did because the view is amazing, especially at sunrise as you have a large deck attached to the cottage. However, the cottages are separated from the parking lot and the main building by a fairly steep slope that you'll have to walk up and down several times. If you're tired of walking up and down slopes, the inside rooms are probably a better option for you.
Dinner and breakfast are included (cottage stayers have the option to not have it included, but it only saves you about 2000 per person). If you've never stayed at a place like this before you might not realize what 'meals included' actually means—something more like a feast. In fact, if you were paying for the meals separately, it costs about 6300 yen a person.
Take a look at the photos below to get an idea of some of what is included in the dinner. It is a multiple course meal that highlights several locally caught or grown foods—katsuo no tataki, seared bonito tuna, for one. The vegetables were also outstanding. The only thing to remember is that alcohol and any other specialty drink are separate from the included price.
You are free to get in the bath as many times as you like before checkout at 10:00a.m., so take the opportunity to watch the sunset and sunrise from the bath.
If you choose not to stay at Kuroshi Honjin, I still recommed stopping by for a rejuvinating bath and, quite literally, soak in the beautiful view at the very least.
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I've been living in Kochi since 2006. I enjoy taking every chance I can to ride my bicycle, camp, swim in rivers, relax on the beach, and explore the surrounding mountains -- all of which can easily be done in Kochi. We're out of the way, but worth it.I'd love to connect with you on Twitter @KochiJPTouristor Facebook.