By Mandy Bartok
If you've already seen the posts about Chikurinji and the Makino Botanical Gardens, you'll know that your journey to Kochi will at some point or the other lead you to Mt. Godai (Godaisan). While there's a nice French style cafe at the botanical gardens, I really recommend that you stop by Panorama for lunch to make the most out of your trip up Godaisan.
Panorama is a very interesting, artsy cafe that's on the second floor of a the Godaisn Service Center looking out over the bay and the city. With floor to ceiling windows in loft-style fashion, you can enjoy a great view and plenty of natural lighting while sipping on a Ryoma cappuccino.
For an even better view, you can climb up to the roof of the building where you'll find a couple of observatory decks. From there, you can see a full 360 degrees, and even get a nice picture of the pagoda at Chikurinji peaking out over the trees and hills.
The service at Panorama is all self-serve, meaning you'll need to go place your order at the counter, carry your food back to your table, and return the tray when you leave. Some locals think this is a negative aspect, but I quite enjoy the casual atmosphere it creates, allowing you to move about the restaurant freely and have a look at all of the interesting décor.
Speaking of décor, there used to be one piece in there that was really quite disturbing. If you go in, take a look and leave a comment down below whether you find it or not!
The only complaint people might have is that the menu is quite limiting. It doesn't change very often, and only has a few lunch options to choose from. On a positive note, however, the food always seems to be very flavorful and consistent. On numerous visits, I've ever only had the soup curry with saffron rice because it is so tasty (and I'm addicted to curries). Other dishes are usually a type of pasta or Italian style casserole.
While the main dishes only cost about 700 yen, it's incredibly difficult not to get an ice cream cone, cake, or coffee—or all three! If you're like me and have very little self control, the most you will probably spend at Panorama is about 1200 yen—a price I believe is worth it to have such a lovely view and relaxing setting with an enjoyable meal.
I definitely recommend having lunch before heading to the botanical gardens or Chikurinji. This will save you having to walk back up to Panorama as it is the highest of the three on the mountain. Assuming you're taking the bus as it is the cheapest option, you might have to ask the driver to let you off early. The road the bus has to take goes to the top, right by Panorama, and then back down to the other sites.
When you're ready to leave Panorama, don't forget to go up to the roof for pictures. On your way out, the gift shop on the first floor is worth a peek. You might be able to find some interesting souvenirs in there!
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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.