My day in historic Aki

Just over an hour from Kochi Station by train, I arrive in Aki City. It’s one of my favorite places to visit during the summer, but before we get going…breakfast!

At Aki Station’s Jibasan Market, I pick up a creamy, umami-rich and perfectly spiced eggplant curry bread. This area is in fact one of Japan’s leading producers of eggplants so no visit here is complete without savoring the plump, healthy veggie

Fully fueled, now I’m ready to go

I walk over to the free (yes, free!) rental bicycles beside Jibasan Market and head north. After a quick 10-minute ride, I travel back in time. The Doi Kachu neighborhood is a remnant of Aki’s history as a former castle town, where samurai (who served the local feudal lord) used to live. I stand in absolute awe of the traditional white-walled houses, bamboo fences and clay roof tiles that have beautifully held their shape for centuries

Next stop is the one and only…Nora Dokei! The collaboration between the field clock and sunflowers (Japan’s symbol of summer) always takes my breath away

The history of the Nora Dokei goes back to the 1880s when it was handmade by landowner Genma Hatakenaka who was fascinated by the inner workings of clocks. I remember feeling so inspired when I heard Genma taught himself how to build these complex devices by repeatedly dismantling and assembling an American clock he owned. The Nora Dokei soon became an important landmark, not only for adding beauty to the scenery, but also indicating the time for farmers hard at work in the fields. The retro, four-faced clock continues to watch over the community 130 years later

I get back on my bicycle and ride across the Aki River toward Ioki Cave. This hidden gem is home to a towering tunnel of rock that dates back millions of years! I witness the mightiness and sheer diversity of nature as I observe several fossilized shells and numerous fern species across the canyon. Sheltered by a microclimate created by a small river, the temperature here stays around a heavenly 20 degrees even on a blazing summer day! At the end of the rejuvenating (and cooling) stroll through the cave, I arrive at a majestic waterfall. What a way to end the day

What was your favorite part of my time-travel, nature-filled adventure in Aki?

Rental bicycle information
April to September: 7AM ~ 6PM
October to March: 7AM ~ 5PM
* Rental bikes are not available on rainy days

Learn more about Aki City: https://visitkochijapan.com/en/see-and-do/10515
  • My day in historic Aki

  • My day in historic Aki

  • My day in historic Aki