I’ll get this out of the way: this won’t be a terribly interesting post. Today, I left Matsuyama for the southern city of Kochi. The island of Shikoku has a decent rail system but not nearly as good as that of the mainland, so getting around the island, small as it is, takes time. Consequently, most of today was just spent traveling.
I gave myself a morning to sleep in a little and forced myself up by 9:00 a.m. so I could be out by 10:30 a.m.
The journey from Matsuyama to Kochi clocks in at about 4 hours of travel time, including the time spent waiting between trains. My original plan was to stop in Kotohira to see their rather famous shrine, Kompira-San, but it involves a lot of stair-climbing and the just the thought of more uphill climbing made me exhausted! So, I passed on that excursion.
Anyway, the train rides through the island to the southern city of Kochi were incredibly scenic. First, you ride along the coast of the Seto Inland Sea and some farmland, and after my transfer to a train that would cut southward, the landscape became much more mountainous, taking us along the Yoshino River.
By the time I reached Kochi, it was already about 3:30 p.m. so I hurried and found the hostel. The Kochi Youth Hostel is a large, beautifully-kept building and it’s owner speaks good English and gave me a few tourist pointers. It’s all stuff I will tackle tomorrow.
It was a good thing I passed on Kotohira because it gave me time to check out the Hirome Market in central Kochi. It’s basically a compact cluster of vendors, most selling food but a few selling clothes or shoes, where a lot of the locals seem to go to hang out, eat, and drink alcohol.
It was also a great place to try Kochi’s signature dish, “katsuo no tataki.” In Kochi, this means slices of skipjack tuna seared on the outside but raw on the inside, and then seasoned (it looks like common seasonings are salt and lemon juice). I have been wanting to try it so I wasted no time. It was really, really good! I should have ordered more, haha!
I browsed the surrounding stores for a little while, then returned to the hostel since it was pouring rain and the stores were starting to close. So, tomorrow, I will be exploring Kochi properly…yay!