Sunday, August 28, 2016

Shikoku Autumn 2014 四国秋季之旅 - Kochi JR Station 高知駅, TosadenStreetcar どさでん電車, MY Yu Bus MY遊バス

Kochi JR Station (D45/K00) on the Dosan line.

This train station is the gateway to Kochi-shi (Kochi city), the capital city of Kochi Prefecture. However, the surrounding area of the train station is actually quieter than expected, with no connecting hotels and major departmental stores nearby. To experience the busiest and liveliest district of Kochi city, one will need to take the streetcar to Harimaya bashi, which is three stops away from the main train station.

Bottom left: A picture of Sakamoto Ryoma and his wife; Top left: A miniature replica of Harimaya bashi; Bottom right: Statues of three prominent figures, Sakamoto Ryoma, Takechi Hanpeita and Nakaoka Shintaro, who contributed greatly to modernization of Japan.
Some limited express trains that serve Kochi JR Station:
(1) Limited Express Shimanto, which commutes between Takamatsu and Kochi, Nakamura and Sukumo.
(2) Limited Express Nanpu, which commutes between Okayama, Kochi and Nakamura.
(3) Limited Express Ashizuri, which commutes between Kochi, Nakamura and Sukumo.

What's nearby?

(1) Kochira Tabi Hiroba (こちら旅広場), a tourist information center located on the right upon exit from the South exit of train station.
This is one of the first places I visited after arrival - to collect brochures of the attractions which I planned to visit in Kochi and to check on the timing of buses departing for Ryoma Kochi Airport which I would take on the last day of the trip. There are shops housed within the same facility selling locally produced goods and souvenirs.

Who is Sakamoto Ryoma? Here in Kochi, you will spot numerous monochrome pictures, statues, caricatures and even souvenirs depicting a Japanese legendary figure. He is Sakamoto Ryoma (坂本龍馬). Born in Kochi in 1836, he made great contributions to the rapid modernisation of Japan which marked the end of 700 years of feudal government. The best way to find out how he shaped the future of Japan is to check out several museums located in Kochi Prefecture. In 2010, NHK created a drama serial, titled Ryomaden (龍馬伝), which portrayed the life of Sakamoto Ryoma. This drama was well-received both locally and internationally, and its popularity has even led to an enclosure being set up (located beside Kochira Tabi Hiroba) to exhibit props and sets which appeared in the drama serial. 


My Yu Bus boarding area located behind Kochira Tabi Hiroba. 
(2) MY Yu Bus (MY遊バス), bus stop located behind Kochira Tabi Hiroba.
This is a very useful bus service covering attractions in secluded locations further from city center such as Makino Botanical Garden (牧野植物園), Chikuriji (竹林寺) and southwards to Katsurahama (桂浜).

My Yu Bus Godaisan 1 day pass.
A one day and two day pass, covering the entire route between Kochi JR Station and Katsurahama, cost 1,000 yen and 1,600 yen respectively. Purchased the Godaisan (五台山) 1 day pass, priced at 600 yen, as we only utilised the bus service between Kochi JR Station and Godaisan to visit Makino Botanical Garden and Chikuriji. For foreign visitors, a 50% discount is given when your passport is shown during the purchase of tickets. Tickets can be purchased at Kochira Tabi Hiroba, Kochi Bus Terminal or from the driver when you board the bus.

* Please note that the bus boarding bay is not at Kochi Bus Terminal (located at the North exit of train station), but just behind Kochira Tabi Hiroba.

Bought an Anpanman bread from Willie Winkie bakery!
(3) Anpanman Terrace & Willie Winkie, located on the first level of train station.

- Anpanman Terrace (アンパンマンテラス) has a wide range of Anpanman related merchandises for patrons to choose from; such as storybooks, toys, stationery and exclusive Anpanman train models. Bought a small Anpanman drawstring bag from here.  

- Willie Winkie (ウィリーウィンキー) is a bakery owned by JR Shikoku and the branches are located within the train stations. What makes this bakery stands out is their adorable and delicious looking Anpanman characters bread. Spotted them while I was visiting the bakery and could not resist buying some to try. Five characters from this popular anime were transformed into real edible bread here: Anpanman, Creampanda, Omusubiman, Shokupanman and Currypanman.

Tosaden streetcar
(4) Tosaden / Tosa Electric Railway streetcar (どさでん電車)
One of the most convenient way to get around the city is by Tosaden streetcar. Kochi ekimae (高知駅前) is the terminus streetcar station located just in front of the South exit of train station. For foreign visitors holding on All Shikoku Rail Pass, be rest assured that you will not need to top up additional fares to ride the streetcar.

Harimaya bashi
Attractions accessible via streetcar:
- Harimaya bashi (はりまや橋): board any streetcar from Kochi ekimae and alight at Harimaya bashi はりまや橋
- Hirome Market (ひろめ市場): board the streetcar heading for Kagamigawa bashi 鏡川橋/Asakura 朝倉/Ino 伊野 and alight at Ohashi dori 大橋通
- Kochi Castle (高知城): board the streetcar heading for Kagamigawa bashi 鏡川橋/Asakura 朝倉/Ino 伊野 and alight at Kochi jo mae 高知城前


Commemorative stamp: 

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