Only-in-Kochi Meats: Beef, Pork and Chicken

While Kochi Prefecture has over 700km of coastline, that doesn’t mean that all the local specialties are fish-based! The rich fertile land also allows farmers to raise mouthwatering beef, pork and chicken. From super rare wagyu beef to local varieties of chicken, experience the goodness of locally produced Kochi meats.

Tosa Akaushi Beef: the “miracle” wagyu

Tosa Akaushi beef is only produced in Kochi and limited to about 500 head of cattle per year, making it a rare treat almost impossible to find outside of the prefecture. The meat is highly rated, as Tosa Akaushi is said to have 2 to 4 times the umami and sweetness of more commonly available black-haired wagyu beef. Despite this high level of umami, the flavor is still surprisingly light with a delicious aftertaste.

Steak or roast beef are two of the recommended ways of enjoying this luxurious beef, although you will find that chefs have come up with a variety of ways to make the most of the rare treat: thinly sliced shoulder is great for sukiyaki, while minced beef ribs make for a really juicy hamburger.

Shimanto Pork: the best pork you may ever try

The town of Shimanto is a prominent farming area in Kochi Prefecture, and Shimanto Pork is the brand name for locally produced pork. Pigs are fed on a special diet which produces slightly different flavors, depending on which ingredients are included in their feed. Pigs fed chestnuts, barley and imo-kenpi (a local snack made of thinly sliced, fried sweet potatoes) produce a sweeter meat, while those fed on locally-grown Niida rice have juicy and tender meat.

One of the best ways to enjoy Shimanto Pork is braised in a sweet and spicy sauce and served on top of a bowl of Niida rice. This dish can be found at a number of restaurants in Shimanto and is a truly “km 0” must-try for foodies.

Tosa Hachikin-Jidori: umami rich local chicken

Of the 38 breeds of jidori (heritage chicken breeds) in Japan, 8 are from Kochi Prefecture. Raised in pristine natural areas like the village of Okawa, Tosa Hachikin-Jidori are a cross between several Kochi heritage chicken breeds. The meat is lean and tastes very clean, while still packing a serious punch of umami. Cooking it with a bit of salt or searing the meat are two of the best ways to enjoy the umami of this Kochi chicken. That umami carries right into the marrow of the bones, so chicken soup made with Tosa Hachikin-Jidori is incredibly delicious and fragrant. Simmered wings are packed full of collagen, while tenders are light and go great with salad.

Gomen Kenka Shamo Chicken: the chicken of samurai

Known for being a favorite of Kochi-born samurai Ryoma Sakamoto, this game fowl is a pure breed that has not been crossed with other types of chickens, making it a rarity in Japan. Gomen Kenka Shamo chickens are raised in free-range environments as close to nature as possible, and the meat is characterized by an overwhelming depth of umami.

The most popular way in Kochi to eat this chicken is in a hot pot called shamo nabe. The umami of the chicken infuses into the soup, making you want to drink every last drop of the delicious broth. Nankoku City, located 20 minutes from Kochi City by train, is dotted with restaurants that serve shamo nabe.