While downtown Kochi is full of shopping bargains and food delights, to really dig into Kochi’s history you need to hit the outskirts of the city, and these follow three compass points. If you’re into craft and paper, then head West to the Ino-cho Paper Museum and try your hand at making traditional Japanese “washi” paper.
- Local city tour, ideal for cruise ship passengers
- Safe, clean public transport
- Authentic paper-making experience
- Near-by discount paper reseller
- Self-arranged, self-guided – Free, but actual costs additional and payable upon use
- Arranged by Japan Travel - ¥10,800~ booking fee (final fee depends on group size)
- Guided tour by Japan Travel – ¥30,800~ (final fee depends on group size)
- '1 specialist activity, 1 discount shopping experience
- 'avg. 3 hours, plus 2 hours return transit time
- '¥0 - ¥30,800 + transport costs
- 'Families, Solo, Couples
The best way to travel to the western parts of Kochi city is by tram or JR rail, both of which start at Kochi station. Of the two, the tram is both quaint and convenient, and it gives you a closer look at the city as you travel through. If you do decide on the tram, buy your ticket on the tram and travel south as far as Harimayabashi, then transfer to the east-west line and catch any tram going all the way to Ino-cho. Note there are other trams that also head west but stop short of Ino-cho. If you decide to save time and cost, use the JR Dosan line, which also stops at both Ino and Kochi. Buy your JR ticket right there at the station.
Kochi Prefecture “i “ Information Center Tosa Terrace
Right next to the station is the Kochi Prefecture “i “ Information Center Tosa Terrace, which has a great selection of multilingual brochures and maps to help you get around. Not only do they have Wi-Fi you can access on the premises, but if you don’t mind filling out a form and showing your passport, you can even pick up (borrow) a Wi-Fi Router free of charge – something special Kochi Prefecture offers foreign visitors.
Ino-cho Paper Museum
Tosa washi paper is famous throughout Japan as one of the strongest and longest-lasting traditional papers, thanks to the unique mix of fibers and the production methods. You can experience making your own Tosa washi by attending one of the workshops at the Ino-cho Paper Museum. Just be aware that the last one starts at 16:00 sharp.
Paperlab Home Studio
One local artist who has opened up his tiny paper-making home studio to foreign visitors is the owner of “Paperlabo” (Paper Lab), Mr. Tomohiko Kariya. He offers a marvelous array of home- and professionally-made washi products and raw paper, for low, low prices.
Kochi is built on the Urado Bay and used to be bounded by the Kagami and Kokubu rivers. This tour extends out to the west, using the east-west city Tosaden Ino tramway, working through the hills to the south and north to get to the Niyodo River.
- Walking – the destinations on this tour are probably too far for reasonable access by walking from downtown Kochi.
- Cycling – Access by rental bike to the western outskirts of Kochi (to the Niyodo River) will be strenuous for anyone not used to cycling, but not un-doable. Bicycles certainly give you flexibility and access to back roads, so if you want to make the effort, then bicycles can be rented at the Kochi Prefecture “i” Information Center Tosa Terrace in front of Kochi Station. English speaking staff are available. You’ll be asked to write down your Name, Address (your hotel), and Telephone number. Bikes need to be returned each evening so please be back before closing time.
- Taxis – Taxis are widely available but note that few drivers can speak English. Many drivers have, however, taken courtesy courses and are ready and willing to serve non-Japanese customers
- Public Transport - The best way to get to the Ino-cho Paper Museum is by city tram operated by Tosaden. Please note that when taking the tram and transiting between the East-west and North-south lines at Harimayabashi, AND if you don't already have a 1-day pass, then you will need a "route transfer" ticket. When getting on, please tell the driver you are going to "Ino" (or your alternative final destination) and ask for a route transfer ticket at that time. You'll be asked to pay the difference when you get off. More on this at http://www.tosaden.co.jp/multilingual/en/electric/use.html.