Kochi is a natural paradise and the perfect place to get kids to forget about their devices, providing valuable opportunities to reconnect with outdoor fun and family. There are a huge number of ways to enjoy nature in Kochi, but here are two nature walks that kids will particularly enjoy.
Of the several gorges that feed the Niyodo River
, famous for its “Niyodo Blue” crystal-clear, sapphire and emerald colored pools, Nakatsu Gorge
is perfect for young adventurers. At only 2.3km, the easy-follow path is highly doable for all ages and short enough to use a baby carrier. Children will feel like explorers of old as they criss-crossing the rushing waters of the Nakatsu River as it makes its way among huge moss-covered rocks. If your little ones need some additional motivation, have them tick off statues of the 7 Lucky Gods that are hidden along the path in a kind of cultural treasure hunt.
The traffic-free camelia tree-lined walking path around Japan's southernmost point, Cape Ashizuri
, offers another cultural treasure hunt; this time, 7 mythical points associated with the Buddhist saint Kukai who is closely associated with the Shikoku 88 Temple Pilgrimage.
Making a lot of noise is generally frowned upon in Japan, but at the cape observation point visitors are encouraged to scream a message out to the vast Pacific Ocean while standing on the round metal plate. Despite one’s best efforts, sound doesn’t travel very far, as it echoes and sounds like it's coming from another person entirely. It's quite a strange phenomenon.
The huge Hakusan natural arch below the cape is awe inspiring to people of all ages. Challenge your children to find the angle from which the opening appears heart-shaped and make out the face of a young woman in the rock above. Beachcombing and even a spot of litter collection along the rocky beach on the way back to the path can also keep young travelers engaged.
Explore the cave of the Dragon River
Another natural wonder that kids will get a kick out of is Ryugado (which means “dragon river cave”) about 40 minutes by car east of Kochi City. Ryugado Cave
is one of Japan's largest limestone caves, approximately 4km long with about 1 kilometer that is open to the general public.
Going into the mazelike cave is like entering a whole new world. Imaginitively-named rock formations, stalactites and stalagmites of all sizes, and even a site of human activity which dates back around 2000 years are sure to keep all ages entranced. Colorful lights, projection mapping, and music further enhance this alreday impressive geological formation. If your little ones have a sense of adventure, exploring some of the narrower sections of the cave not included on the main routes on a guided tour (saftey gear included), is sure to be the subject of family conversations around the dinner table for years to come!