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Welcome to Shikoku, awarded 2nd place in Lonely Planet’s 'Best in Asia Pacific'

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Lonely Planet, the publisher of worldwide travel guides, has ranked Kochi in Shikoku as No. 2 on its “Best in Asia Pacific” places to visit in 2019.

After Margaret River in Australia, Lonely Planet introduces the region including Kochi Castle and Hirome Market in addition to the world-famous 88 Sacred Temple and Setouchi Triennale Arts Festival.

Kochi Prefecture occupies the most of the southern half of Shikoku, facing the Pacific Ocean. It has a proud sake heritage with 18 breweries, and developed distinctive customs and games for the social enjoyment of sake with delicious food. People in Kochi are known to spend more on drinking than any other Japanese region.

In Hirome Market, especially, people start to drink from early morning. It is certainly a heaven for sake lovers. Kochi welcomes rugby fans and sake lovers coming to Japan for the Rugby World Cup during the next six weeks.

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The 88 is also island wide, not a Kochi thing.

Not that I want to encourage more tourists but the Shimanto river is also worth a name check as the last unspoilt river in Japan.

The appeal of O-Henro is over exaggerated now. It's pretty much all concreted over. In the old days, the Kochi section was potentially life threatening.

'Best in Asia Pacific' is a l-o-n-g stretch of the imagination. There is almost nothing to do after 5pm in most of it.

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And it was the Tosa women in Kochi who were famous for drinking.

The dog fighting's scene is not cool either.

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The dog fighting's scene is not cool either.

I thought you were joking (at best) with dog fights in Japan. Then I found this:

https://www.newsweek.com/2016/09/09/japanese-dogfighting-494843.html

With laws protecting pets, I would have never imagined dog fighting was legal here (well, legal in 42 of the 47 prefectures).

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I am afraid so. It's brutal, fight to the death stuff too ... half way around a so called pilgrimage to enlightenment.

Good article, covers it all, including a well deserved nod to Elizabeth Oliver and others opposing it.

I'm surprised that Lonely Planet promoted Kochi for just that reason.

The article makes good reference to the yakuza (and also buraku) involvement in animal breeding, and also the reactionary right wing support/adoption/protection of it.

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FYI the dog fighting no longer takes place in Kochi.

The Shimanto River is overrated; the Niyodo River is much clearer.

Counting the number of pilgrims I saw on the way back from the Shimanto area yesterday, it still seems pretty popular with both Japanese and those from overseas.

You are right; we are already suffering the effects of tourism pollution.

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To each his & her own. But I can tell u this , it seems that not one of u are really having the in depth kochi experiences.No one had written abt what is really the unseen wonders that are the best in kochi. Pls spend more time to discover the real wonders of kochi. Stop being god, I had lived in Japan for 32 years, yet i do not dare to judge because of the real depth of Japanese real beauty.

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@Mike Sharpe

FYI the dog fighting no longer takes place in Kochi

City or prefecture?

If you are into that kind of stuff, there's also the boar hunting with dogs.

@Tara,

I am not sure what you are referring to. I'd certainly give a high placing to the "loneliness" factor of the prize. It's pretty remote, hard to get around if you have not got a car, and not really set up for tourism (which is a good thing in my book). I think people can be friendlier because of its remoteness (and gratitude to meet new people).

But, the countryside is the countryside.

The Henro, I think, if one wants to be honest, sucks and I'd tell people to scratch it off the bucket list.

Who really wants to walk 1,000km on the side of a dusty road as busloads of obaasan scoot around it in two days using buses? I think its a far stretch to imagine it being spiritual these days.

I can see how it was a big thing in the old days though.

The Kochi stretch really did used to kill people, hence the white robes.

After you've seen 10 temples, they all pretty much look the same.

If you like remote it's good. I was disappointed by the grey beach and surf in Kochi itself. If you go, I'd say you've really got to fit in with the Japanese style of tourism, eg stick to the bus, book in early, do the food and spa experience, go to bed and get up early.

Its get very, very dark at night. Like most of Japan, lots of the coastline is concreted in.

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