Yosakoi Dance And 4 Other Reasons To Visit Kochi Prefecture | CoolJapan

Located in the Shikoku region of Japan, Kochi is a popular tourist destination for travellers drawn by its warm climate and coastal beauty. The prefecture is also famous for being the birthplace of the Yosakoi Dance, a unique dance form where dancers hold naruko (wooden clappers). While yosakoi has its origins in traditional Japanese dance and music, there is no restriction to the style of dance now as yosakoi has since spread across the world.

Yosakoi Festival dancer

The Yosakoi Festival originated in Kochi but has spread to over 200 locations in Japan. (Photo from: Kochi Prefecture)

The first Yosakoi Festival was held in 1954 in Kochi and is now celebrated in over 200 locations in Japan and 29 countries. In 2019, the city of Kochi received over a million visitors during the four-day festival period.

Introducing the colourful and beautiful scenery of Kochi Prefecture, the birthplace of Yosakoi, and the rich of local culture.

While this year’s edition of the Yosakoi Festival had to be postponed due to COVID-19 travel restrictions, the organisers refused to let that dampen their mood. Tourism authorities from Kochi Prefecture recently released a series of three videos aimed at showing people around the world the appeal of the Yosakoi dance festival.

DJ KAORI, an international artist and Kochi Prefecture native based in the United States and Japan introduces Yosakoi.

Inspired yet? From now till 28 February, show off your Yosakoi moves and upload it to social media for your chance to win exclusive goodies from Kochi Prefecture. More details here.

This exuberance of Kochi locals is not just confined to the Yosakoi festival. Throughout the prefecture, you’ll find plenty of fun-filled activities that celebrate the joie de vivre. Here are some to check out the next time you’re in the city:

Dine with the locals at Hirome Market

A photo outside of Hirome Market in Kochi Prefecture

Hirome Market lets you enjoy many Kochi specialties under one roof. (Photo from: Kochi Prefecture)

Conveniently located in the middle of Kochi city, this bustling food court offers a wide variety of local street food including the famous katsuo tataki. In Kochi, this dish of seared skipjack tuna sashimi is prepared by searing the fish with straw. Because straw burns quickly, the skipjack is lightly seared on the outside and raw inside, offering a lovely contrast of flavours.

Catch a wave at Irino Beach

A man surfing in Irino Beach in Kochi Prefecture

Irino Beach is a popular spot for surfers. (Photo from: Kochi Prefecture)

With generally calm sea conditions, the picturesque Irino Beach is ideal for beginner surfers to pick up the sport. For those who prefer taking it slow, the pristine soft sands of Irino is the perfect place for sunbathing, picnicking or sneaking a quick snooze. Every year during Golden Week (1 to 5 May), the beach also plays host to a T-shirt festival where hundreds of artists display their artwork on the white tees strung up on rows and rows of laundry lines along the shore. 

A previous photo taken during the Irino Beach T-shirt festival

Irino Beach’s annual T-shirt festival attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors every year. (Photo from: Sunabi Museum)

Paddle down the Niyodo River

A woman paddleboarding on Niyodo River in Kochi Prefecture

Stand up paddleboarding along the beautiful Niyodo River. (Photo from: Kochi Prefecture)

Running along the mid-west of Kochi Prefecture, the Niyodo River is well-known for its crystal-clear azure waters. There are plenty of activities to experience at the Niyodo River, including a languorous cruise in a yakatabune (traditional roofed leisure boat) but for something more thrilling, book yourself into a stand up paddleboard tour. This unique experience allows you to enjoy the beauty of the river up close. While you’re in the area, make time to explore the Nakatsu Gorge, a natural wonder comprising steep boulders and pristine waterfalls that is linked by a 2.3km-long path and several bridges.

Explore the 150-million-year-old Ryuga Cave

Exploring the Ryuga Cave in Kochi Prefecture

Discover gigantic stalactites and ancient waterfalls in Ryuga Cave. (Photo from: Kochi Prefecture)

This limestone cave was first discovered in 1931 but is said to have been inhabited by our prehistoric ancestors from as early as the Yayoi era (300BC – 250AD). A walking tour will take you through a 1km-long section of the cave where you’ll get to marvel at gigantic stalactite formations and ancient waterfalls along the way. For those who want to flex their spelunking skills, sign up for the Adventure Course where you get to venture deeper into the cave via narrow passageways, and even clamber up huge boulders using ropes and ladders. 

  1. 1.Hirome Market
  2. 2.Irino Beach
  3. 3.Nyodo River
  4. 4.Ryuga Cave
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