Shikoku Pilgrimage: A Note on Kochi
I’m going to be writing up about my latest trip to Ehime, in which I did the third section of the Shikoku Pilgrimage. Obviously doing the math there, some may ask “Ok, but where’s Kochi then? Did you even go?”
Oh, I did!
Almost a year and a half ago…!
During Golden Week (a week holiday in Japan from late April to early May) in 2014, I drove along Kochi prefecture to complete the second section, known as the “Dojo of Religious Training.” If you’re wondering why I drove instead of walked, please take a look at the map below.
The end of the Tokushima prefecture section is Temple 23, and Kochi prefecture goes from temples 24-39.
Taking into account the space between 23->24, 36->37, 37->38, and 38->39, that’s a lot of distance!
If I’m going to be honest though, once I visited all of the Kochi temples, I didn’t like the car method as much. In short, I overestimated how far I would drive each day, which made my visits to each temple significantly shorter than if I walked. Having said that, I honestly don’t remember too much about each temple and don’t have a breadth of stories to pick from and write about. But I still wanted to give resources as far as where I stayed and my general impressions, as well as some key spots to visit along the way for any pilgrims-to-be.
Stay #1 Kochi Youth Hostel
Dorm rate: 2,500 yen, 1 night, no meals
Kochi Youth Hostel is located just off of Kochi central, and is really affordable when it comes to tourists and pilgrims alike. The large building definitely has a “cabin” vibe with the fresh wood infrastructure. The mom-and-pop owned hostel has an absolutely friendly (English and otherwise) feeling to it, too. The pop also previously worked in the sake industry and does a Sake sampling every night as long as you ask. He was really good at explaining the sake brewing process in English, and the overall tasting really helped me solidify what actual kind of sake I like. The dinners and breakfasts are also good and relatively cheap. Total recommendation.
Stay #2 Minshuku Ashizuri Hatto (Japanese only)
Room rate: 6,500, 1 night, 2 meals (dinner and breakfast)
The next place I stayed at was Minshuku Ashizuri Hatto, located mere minutes away from the coastal Temple 38. While the price was a little steeper than I initially wanted, the dinner and breakfasts provided were absolutely spectacular. The owners and people who frequently visit the minshuku seem to be fisherman, and I had some of the freshest fish in Japan for my meals. The room was also massive for one person. For the the quality of meals and accessibility to Temple 38, I think it’s a very good place to stay, but a solid Japanese language background is recommended since there didn’t seem to be many English resources for the place.
Getting there was a little bit of a pain as the roads leading to Cape Ashizuri are windy, small, and not well marked. My phone frequently lost connection, so make sure you leave in a timely manner if you do plan on staying at Hatto (or any other hostel in the area). It’ll take longer than you imagine.
As a funny side note, one of the things Hatto was really proud of was when a Asuka cosplayer (from Evangelion) stayed. They had a whole wall practically dedicated to her.
The following are some of my favorite photos I took of the trip and also some quick recommendations for Kochi prefecture.
East Kochi Prefecture
Central Kochi/Kochi City proper
West Kochi Prefecture
Next up, Ehime!