Aki, the City of History and Culture
Aki City, in eastern Kochi Prefecture, is home to a number of historical artifacts such as Nora Dokei clock tower, old site of Aki Castle, classical samurai residences from the Edo period, and more. The city is the hometown of Yataro Iwasaki, the founder of the Mitsubishi Group whose childhood house still stands. Uchiharano Park will be full of azalea flowers (16,000 shrubs) in spring. Ioki Cave where a many variety of ferns inhabit is mysterious. One key event that has made Aki famous throughout Japan is the fact that they host the annual pre-season camp of the Japanese professional baseball team, the Hanshin Tigers. A number of Tigers fan visit Aki during the camp from all around Japan.
Sightseeing Highlights in Aki
Nora Dokei Clock Tower
The land proprietor of the area, Genma Hatakenaka, built this clock tower around 1887. He was so fascinated by the workings of clocks that he took apart American octagonal clocks and put them back together again by himself repeatedly. As he came to understand their structure, he tried to build this large clock alone, from making the weights, toothed wheels, and every component himself.
Doi Kachu Traditional District
Dignified classical samurai residences surrounded by bamboo fences and tidy hedges from the Edo period are located in this district which was designated as a Preservation District of Historic Buildings in July, 2012.
A fine park on the hill with a superb view of the Pacific Ocean which was maintained by the 5th master of the Goto Family as his leisure park. From spring to early summer, a variety of flowers adorn the park such as cherry blossom, azaleas and irises. The view of the 16,000 azalea trees reaching full bloom is just stunning. An Azalea Festival will be held around this time and many visitors come to enjoy their beauty as well as some cultural experiences at the Uchiharano Ceramic Museum and Uchiharano Glass Studio.
Aki Castle Ruins
Birth House of Yataro Iwasaki
The house was relocated to its present location by the great-grand father of Yataro Iwasaki (the founder of the Mitsubishi Group). This is a typical architectural example of a middle-class farmer’s house. The Oni-gawara roof tile has the family crest of the Iwasaki Family which is said to have been the origin of the logo of today’s Mitsubishi Group. It is said that the young Yataro designed stones in the garden grounds; he allocated stones following the map of Japan hoping he would become a successful businessman who could make an impact on the entire country.
Statue of Yataro Iwasaki
A statue of Yataro Iwasaki was established in Enokawakami Park in 1986 celebrating the 150th anniversary since his birth. The bronze statue is 3.3 meters tall. On the base of the statue is 16 engraved items related to Iwasaki.
Song Monuments of Ryutaro Hirota
Ryutaro Hirota is a children’s song composer who was born in Aki City. To remember his merits, 10 song monuments dedicated to Hirota are set around the city such as at Oyama Cape, Uchiharano, the Birth House of Yataro Iwasaki, etc.
Traditional Japanese calligraphy was popular in Aki City since the Edo Period. The city produces many famous calligraphers even today. There are calligraphy monuments in the Enokawakami Park.
At the History and Folk Museum, a calligraphy which is said to have been written by Yataro Iwasaki, the founder of the Mitsubishi Group, in his teenage, is displayed (the replica is exhibited at Aki Tourist Information Center).
Important Annual Events in Aki
Uchiharano Azalea Festival
Aki Summer Festival
Kochi Eastern Beach Gourmet Festival
Handmade Climbing Kiln Festa
Aki Candle Night
Aki Turtle Marathon
Runners simply enjoy running the full marathon at their pace.
Traditional Crafts of Aki
The first kiln producing Uchiharano ceramics was opened around 1829. Many people are fond of the simple and warm texture of Uchiharano ceramic pieces such as bowls and vases. At the Uchiharano Ceramic Museum, visitors can try making pottery as well as glass craft in the nearby Glass Studio.
Aki Roof Tile
Around 1700, a roof tile craftsman named Hanbei was invited from Kikugahama in Iyo Province (present-day Kikuma Town of Ehime Prefecture) in order to produce good roof tiles in Aki. The fields around Aki were blessed with good clay and this helped the Aki Roof Tile industry flourish around the time the 5th Goto Family master was governing the area.
Food & Specialties of Aki
Tosa Jiro (local chicken)
Farm’s Handmade Ice Cream
Nyugauchi Daikon Radish
Aki Kama-age Chirimen Rice Bowl
Offshore of Aki City is a good fishing point for Shirasu (white bait). Pile of caught white bait are dried along the sea which is a typical scenery of the city. Ample of dried white bait is topped on warm rice with savory relishes such as seaweed, grated radish, oba leaf, myoga, sesame and more. This is a must-try local specialty of Aki City.
- ・Get off at Aki Shiyakusho-mae Bus Stop (the bus bound for Muroto/Kannoura from Aki Station)
・Get off at Aki Station on the Gomennahari Line
- Aki Tourist Information Center
Tourism and Fishery Section, Aki City Hall
TEL：0887-34-8344 (Aki Tourist Information Center)
0887-35-1011 (Tourism and Fishery Section, Aki City Hall) / FAX：0887-35-2818 (Aki Tourist Information Center)
0887-35-8113 (Tourism and Fishery Section, Aki City Hall)
- URL： http://www.city.aki.kochi.jp