Kōchi Prefecture

Coordinates: 33°26′N 133°26′E / 33.433°N 133.433°E / 33.433; 133.433
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Kōchi Prefecture
Japanese transcription(s)
 • Japanese高知県
 • RōmajiKōchi-ken
Shimanto River and Iwama Bridge, famous sights in Shimanto City, Kōchi Prefecture
Shimanto River and Iwama Bridge, famous sights in Shimanto City, Kōchi Prefecture
Flag of Kōchi Prefecture
Official logo of Kōchi Prefecture
Anthem: Kōchi kenmin no uta
Location of Kōchi Prefecture
Coordinates: 33°26′N 133°26′E / 33.433°N 133.433°E / 33.433; 133.433
Country Japan
SubdivisionsDistricts: 6, Municipalities: 34
 • GovernorSeiji Hamada
 • Total7,103.93 km2 (2,742.84 sq mi)
 • Rank18th
 (April 1, 2023)
 • Total669,516
 • Rank45th
 • Density106.68/km2 (276.3/sq mi)
ISO 3166 codeJP-39
Symbols of Japan
BirdFairy pitta (Pitta nympha)
FlowerYamamomo (Myrica rubra)
TreeYanase Sugi (Cryptomeria japonica)

Kōchi Prefecture (高知県, Kōchi-ken, pronounced [koːtɕi ꜜkeɴ]; /ˈki/) is a prefecture of Japan located on the island of Shikoku.[1] Kōchi Prefecture has a population of 669,516 (1 April 2023) and has a geographic area of 7,103 km2 (2,742 sq mi). Kōchi Prefecture borders Ehime Prefecture to the northwest and Tokushima Prefecture to the northeast.

Kōchi is the capital and largest city of Kōchi Prefecture, with other major cities including Nankoku, Shimanto, and Kōnan.[2] Kōchi Prefecture is located on Japan's Pacific coast surrounding a large bay in the south of Shikoku, with the southernmost point of the island located at Cape Ashizuri in Tosashimizu. Kōchi Prefecture is home to Kōchi Castle, considered the most intact Japanese castle, and the Shimanto River, one of the few undammed rivers in Japan.


Kōchi Prefecture was historically known as Tosa Province and was controlled by the Chōsokabe clan in the Sengoku period and the Yamauchi clan during the Edo period.[3]

Kōchi city is also the birthplace of noted revolutionary Sakamoto Ryōma, who became one of the main instigators of the Meiji Restoration.


Kōchi Prefecture comprises the southwestern part of the island of Shikoku, facing the Pacific Ocean. It is bordered by Ehime to the north-west and Tokushima to the north-east. It is the largest but least populous of Shikoku's four prefectures. Most of the province is mountainous, and in only a few areas such as around Kōchi and Nakamura is there a coastal plain. Kōchi is famous for its many rivers. Inamura-yama in Tosa-cho is the highest peak in Kōchi prefecture with an altitude of 1,506 meters above sea level.

As of April 1, 2012, 7% of the total land area of the prefecture was designated as Natural Parks, namely the Ashizuri-Uwakai National Park; Ishizuchi, Muroto-Anan Kaigan, and Tsurugisan Quasi-National Parks; and eighteen Prefectural Natural Parks.[4]

Map of Kōchi Prefecture
     City      Town      Village
Skyline of Kōchi City
Sakamoto Ryōma


Eleven cities are located in Kōchi Prefecture:

Flag Name Area (km2) Population Map
Rōmaji Kanji
Aki 安芸市 317.34 17,810
Kami 香美市 537.95 26,526
Kōchi (capital) 高知市 309.22 319,077
Kōnan 香南市 126.75 32,786
Muroto 室戸市 248.25 14,006
Nankoku 南国市 125.35 47,776
Shimanto 四万十市 632.42 34,433
Sukumo 宿毛市 286.11 21,097
Susaki 須崎市 135.46 22,508
Tosa 土佐市 91.59 27,602
Tosashimizu 土佐清水市 266.54 14,666

Towns and villages[edit]

Kochi prefecture population pyramid in 2020

These are the towns and villages in each district:

Name Area (km2) Population District Type Map
Rōmaji Kanji
Geisei 芸西村 39.63 3,846 Aki District Village
Hidaka 日高村 44.88 4,896 Takaoka District Village
Ino いの町 470.71 22,155 Agawa District Town
Kitagawa 北川村 196.18 1‚328 Aki District Village
Kuroshio 黒潮町 188.38 11,559 Hata District Town
Mihara 三原村 85.35 1,627 Hata District Village
Motoyama 本山町 134.21 3,605 Nagaoka District Town
Nahari 奈半利町 28.32 3,359 Aki District Town
Nakatosa 中土佐町 193.19 7,156 Takaoka District Town
Niyodogawa 仁淀川町 332.96 5,676 Agawa District Town
Ochi 越知町 111.58 5,847 Takaoka District Town
Ōkawa 大川村 95.28 521 Tosa District Village
Ōtoyo 大豊町 314.94 4,950 Nagaoka District Town
Ōtsuki 大月町 103.03 5,719 Hata District Town
Sakawa 佐川町 101.21 13,223 Takaoka District Town
Shimanto 四万十町 642.06 18,269 Takaoka District Town
Tano 田野町 6.56 2,644 Aki District Town
Tosa 土佐町 212.11 3,997 Tosa District Town
Tōyō 東洋町 74.09 2,598 Aki District Town
Tsuno 津野町 197.85 5,680 Takaoka District Town
Umaji 馬路村 165.48 737 Aki District Village
Yasuda 安田町 53.03 2,614 Aki District Town
Yusuhara 梼原町 236.51 3,640 Takaoka District Town



Cape of Ashizuri
Cape of Muroto
Shimanto River


Various movies have been set in Kōchi. These include the following:

The 1993 Studio Ghibli movie Ocean Waves (Umi ga Kikoeru).

The 2009 movie The Harimaya Bridge starring Danny Glover.[5][6]

The 2013 movie Hospitality Department (Kencho Omotenashi Ka),[7] which shows views of Kōchi Prefecture.

The 2021 movie Belle (Ryū to Sobakasu no Hime).




Like most areas of Japan, Kōchi advertises itself as specializing in a major food item, often known as meibutsu. Kōchi's is katsuo no tataki – skipjack tuna or bonito which is lightly seared.[8] Traditionally this is done over the straw generated as a by-product of the rice harvest.

Sawachi is a term which refers to "a style of meal" in Kochi prefecture, according to Kochi-City Tourism Association. It says that the characteristic of the style of eating is "its freeness in the arrangement of food on a large dish" People eat Sawachi in the situation of "Enkai" which refers to a gathering of family, friends and relatives. They surround "Sawachi", feasts on large dishes, and take own portions by themselves. The style represents the cultural climate of Kochi Prefecture, which dislikes formal arrangements and respects freedom.

Festival and events[edit]

  • Yosakoi Festival - Yosakoi (よさこい) is a unique style of dance that originated in Japan and that is performed at festivals and events all over the country.


The sports teams listed below are based in Kōchi.


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Nussbaum, Louis-Frédéric. (2005). "Kōchi prefecture" in Japan Encyclopedia, p. 538, p. 538, at Google Books.
  2. ^ Nussbaum, "Kōchi" at p. 538, p. 538, at Google Books.
  3. ^ Nussbaum, "Provinces and prefectures" at p. 780, p. 780, at Google Books.
  4. ^ "General overview of area figures for Natural Parks by prefecture" (PDF). Ministry of the Environment. Retrieved 19 August 2012.
  5. ^ Matt Alt; Hiroko Yoda; Melinda Joe (27 March 2012). Frommer's? Japan Day by Day. John Wiley & Sons. p. 532. ISBN 978-0-470-90826-6.
  6. ^ Iris-Aya Laemmerhirt (March 2014). Embracing Differences: Transnational Cultural Flows between Japan and the United States. transcript Verlag. p. 254. ISBN 978-3-8394-2600-5.
  7. ^ "Yukiyo Teramoto Makes Short Insert Anime for "Prefectural Office Hospitality Department: The Movie" - Tokyo Otaku Mode News". otakumode.com.
  8. ^ Lafferty, Jefferey (2020-10-16). "Japan's delicious fire-seared delicacy". BBC.


External links[edit]

Media related to Kōchi prefecture at Wikimedia Commons