Historic birthplace, traditional dance and…tuk-tuks!
If you love nature, history, and experiencing traditional Japanese culture, Tsuno Town might be your perfect destination in Kochi this autumn. With approximately 90% of its area covered in forest, the crystal-clear Shimanto River flowing through, and the dynamic mountains of the Tengu Highlands nearby, Tsuno Town may only be an hour from Kochi City by car, but it feels like a world away
For our first stop, we’re visiting the birthplace of an important historical figure who was the first to risk his life by leaving his Tosa clan without permission (a criminal act back then). He helped overthrow the feudal regime and usher in the era of modernization in Japan more than 150 years ago. Torataro Yoshimura’s birthplace has now been renovated into a museum and cafe, where you will find historical documents and images that tell his life story. Marvel at the Edo-Period (1603 - 1868) architecture, while enjoying delicious udon noodles topped with freshly deep-fried local veggies
If you’re interested in traditional Japanese culture, you’ll certainly want to see Tsunoyama Koshiki Kagura, which is a dance that has existed for over 1100 years! This year, the annual autumn festival is scheduled for November 11th, 15th, 16th and the 19th, each at different shrines mainly in Tsuno Town. The performance closest to Torataro Yoshimura’s birthplace will take place at Yoshiuno Suwa Shrine from around 10AM on November 19th (if you would like further details on the performances, please leave a comment)! The collaboration of upbeat drums, mystical flutes and dynamic movements of the dancers creates a truly immersive experience
Last but not least, how about further exploring the town on a tuk-tuk? The special ‘Tsuno-tuk’ (cute, right?) runs a different route every month, typically on all weekends (either Saturday or Sunday) between April and November. The link at the end has all the information you need but it is in Japanese, so feel free to leave a comment if you have any questions!