My artsy, retro, and yummy day in Akaoka Town

Every summer, I make my way to Akaoka Town (about 40 minutes by train from Kochi Station) for a festival where the local community and art-loving visitors celebrate the work of 19th-century painter Hirose Kinzo. Better known as Ekin, he broke free of social expectations and pushed the boundaries of art at the time, in ways that were entirely original to his dynamic style

During the annual Tosa Akaoka Ekin Festival (which will take place this month on the 15th and 16th), Ekin’s eerie, dynamic and colorful paintings on traditional folding screens will line the streets, illuminated by paper lanterns and candlelight. You can also watch stage performances based on Ekin’s work at the Bentenza kabuki theater. If you can’t make it to the festival, no worries! 23 reproductions of the artist’s masterpieces are permanently exhibited at Ekin Museum

While you’re in town, I certainly recommend visiting Okkouya, a shop in a traditional Japanese house that was built over 200 years ago! Everything from local tea and honey to handmade baskets, kimono (traditional Japanese garments), and sea glass jewelry…shopping here is like hunting for treasure! It’s a great place to get all kinds of authentic and retro souvenirs to take home with you 

Last but not least, I must mention Tosawo Shoten, a beloved local restaurant and mini grocery store that has been around since 1964! The first dish you have to try is the gyoza dumpling, which is 100% handmade using plenty of local garlic chives and juicy chicken. Fun fact! The area of Konan City is the largest producer of garlic chives in Japan! Second, you have to try Akaoka Town’s soul food called chunichi that dates back more than 70 years. Chinese noodles in a umami-rich Japanese broth topped with locally-caught chirimen (tiny sardines) and veggies…YUM

Learn more about Ekin Museum: https://visitkochijapan.com/en/see-and-do/10017 

 Special thanks to Okkouya (@レトロ。アンティーク、骨董 おっこう屋) and Instagram users @kouchisakayanomattyan77 and @kochi_1001 for letting us share their beautiful photos! 

@kouchisakayanomattyan77: https://www.instagram.com/kouchisakayanomattyan77/ 
@kochi_1001: https://www.instagram.com/kochi_1001/
  • My artsy, retro, and yummy day in Akaoka Town

  • My artsy, retro, and yummy day in Akaoka Town

  • My artsy, retro, and yummy day in Akaoka Town