CrossFit gym, ancient tree, sea of clouds…Otoyo Town is epic
Only about 40 minutes from Kochi City by car, Otoyo Town is a great choice for a countryside getaway
First off, who wants to work out in one of the most scenic gyms in Japan? In 2022, Violet Pacileo (with the support of her husband, Carlo) opened CrossFit Otoyo Strength, not only to offer workout opportunities for travelers but also, help revitalize the local economy. You’ll find a beautiful guesthouse (equipped with high-speed Wi-Fi, kitchen, etc.), riverside BBQ terrace, and even sports e-bikes available for rent! CrossFit Otoyo Strength is a great place to base yourself for exploring the rest of this idyllic countryside town
Next stop…how about we make a wish at a 3,000-year-old cedar tree? Just 14 kilometers from CrossFit Otoyo Strength, Sugi-no-Osugi is one of the largest cedar trees in Japan, rising over 60 meters high. It is also believed to grant wishes, ever since Hibari Misora became one of Japan's most legendary singers after making that exact wish in front of the tree at age 10
Third stop on the list is Yutorisuto Park Otoyo where you can witness a natural phenomenon if you’re lucky! Known as unkai, it’s when low clouds form under specific weather conditions and resemble a smooth ocean of marshmallowy waves in the sky. Even if you don't get to see unkai, Yutorisuto Park Otoyo is still worth a visit! You’ll find all kinds of facilities including a restaurant, dog park, playground for children, flower garden, wooden cottages and more!
Last but not least…it’s time to devour the local specialty called Tajikawa soba, which features noodles made only with buckwheat flour (contrary to the typical style of incorporating wheat flour as well). The noodles are famously thick and chewy, which collaborates beautifully with the light, umami-rich broth. You can try Tajikawa soba at Michi-no-Eki Osugi, located just down the road from the 3000-year-old cedar tree (about 7 minutes on foot)