A precious castle of the nation that has retained both its ote-mon gate and keep
Since its construction in 1601 by the daimyo (feudal lord) of Tosa, Kazutoyo Yamanouchi, Kochi Castle has overcome various crises of natural disaster and war over its 400 years. The castle’s surviving keep was reconstructed after a fire in 1749, so it is one of only 12 surviving wooden keeps in the nation and a precious cultural property of an old style from the early days. Starting with the keep and the Ote-mon gate, there are 15 structures that have been nationally recognized as Important Cultural Properties. Starting your tour of the castle by entering the main Ote-mon gate is recommended. The Yagura-mon gate with its roofed passages on top of the stone walls is of grand and bold construction. There are only 3 existing castles in Japan that have kept both their keep and Ote-mon gate, and the keep can only be viewed from in front of the gate so it is popular as the ideal spot to take a picture. After going past the gate on the left, there is a statue of Kochi-born Taisuke Itagaki who was the father of the democratic popular rights movement. A statue of Kazutoyo Yamanouchi is in front of the library near the Ote-mon gate, and the equestrian statue is the largest in Japan. The Cedar Stairs that head up to the castle from the Ote-mon gate were constructed so that they would be difficult to climb, and by those stairs, a statue of Yamanouchi’s wife is located. Within the Honmaru (inner ring of defense), there remain the keep, the palace, a storehouse, a corridor gate, and many other structures that are precious places of interests within the country. The keep is a lookout type consisting of 4 levels on the exterior (3 layers and 6 floors inside), and on the top floor, there are cornices and railings. From there, you can get a panoramic view of the city of Kochi as well as the surrounding mountains such as Mt. Hitsu and the Kitayama Mountains.
A 300-year-old Sunday market 1.3km to the east of the Ote-mon gate, there is the 300-year-old Tosa Sunday Market which is held every Sunday from early morning to sunset so you will want to drop by there. There are about 500 shops all lined up with products such as vegetables, fruits, hardware and plants, so it is a market that benefits the lifestyles of the local residents.