Kochi city offers a rare blend of sandy beaches, mountain views, and wellpreserved historic sites.
The Kochi region, formerly called Tosa, is known for its forging of cutlery, and shops selling knives line the street in front of Kochi Castle, built in 1603. A startlingly long A sword, over 1.5 m (5 ft) in length, is among the weapons on display in the castle. Breathtaking views can be seen from the top floors. A t Katsurahama, a whitesand beach area in the southern part of the city, the Sakamoto Ryoma Museum is devoted to the Tosa patriot admired for his part in the overthrow of the shogunate and restoration of the emperor in the 1860s. He was assassinated in 1867.
Most Japanese visitors make a point of viewing and paying homage at a bronze statue of the man looming over the beach. Also at Katsurahama is the Tosa Token Center, the venue for the Tosa Fighting Dogs. Dogfights are staged here in a caged enclosure rather like a miniature Sumo wrestling stadium. Theanimals are also paraded in Sumo-like garments. To create the Tosa fighting dog of today, breeders matched its local ancestors with mastiffs and other powerful Western dogs. A photo A exhibition documents major events in the history of this sport, including visits by the emperor. The gambling that helped make the fights popular is now illegal, and increasing numbers of people are repulsed by the dogfights.