With an abundance of untouched nature, blessed by the Shikoku mountain range, approximately 85% of Kochi is covered with forests, making it the most heavily forested prefecture in Japan. As a result, the secret appeal of golfing in Kochi lies in these geographical features as most Kochi golf courses have been successfully designed in harmony with the natural environment. Golfers are rewarded with the panoramic views from the mountain courses while the coastal golf courses offer spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean throughout the round. The climate of Kochi also explains why it is an ideal golfing destination. Being one of the warmest regions in Japan, Kochi’s winter is without the snow, allowing the golfers to enjoy golfing all year round. Some of Kochi’s golf courses including Kuroshio Country Club and Tosa Country Club have proven to be the finest quality by hosting many prestigious golf tournaments. Kochi is an unspoiled hidden gem where unforgettable golfing experiences are promised.
On the beautiful south coast of Shikoku lies Kochi prefecture. Because of its relaxing atmosphere, it is one of Japan’s most livable cities. Moreover, it is surrounded by both the mountains and the sea. That means there’s plenty of fresh vegetables, fruit, and seafood. Kochi prefecture is also the birthplace of the hero Sakamoto Ryoma from the Edo period. As a result, there are many museums and local markets that still embodies the old traditions. There are also many activities for you to experience, such as cutlery and washi (Japanese paper) workshops. Spend a relaxing weekend or longer to enjoy everything Kochi has to offer.
Flights operate between Haneda/Narita Airport and Kochi Ryoma Airport, the flight lasting approximately 90 minutes. Otherwise, JR trains are also available. However, you need to take the JR from Tokyo to Okayama and then transfer to Kochi. Night buses also operate from Tokyo to Kochi.
5207 Nishibun-ko, Geisei-mura, Kochi
Promising to be a top-quality golf experience in a tropical paradise with palm trees scattered all over the course, this beautiful course is only a 25-minute drive from Kochi Ryoma Airport which is an hour flight from both Haneda and Osaka International (Itami) Airport. All of the 4 nine-hole courses face the Pacific Ocean where golfers can observe the unobstructed view of the horizon throughout the round. Like any other golf courses in Kochi, KUROSHIO COUNTRY CLUB is fortunate with warm climate allowing for a magnificent playing experience. What’s more, the staff’s dedication to preserve the country club in top condition plays a significant role so that golfers can enjoy a stunning golfing experience all year round. It also hosts one of the most renowned golf tournaments, ‘CASIO WORLD OPEN GOLF’ annually. The green fees of KUROSHIO COUNTRY CLUB are set reasonably, offering opportunities for every golfer to play on a full-pro tour level golf course with very affordable pricing.
All of the courses are well thought out and well designed, offering a real challenge to experienced golf players. It is also a great experience for beginners, set in vast scenic landscapes, allowing for less chance of hitting a golf shot out of bounds. One of the most iconic holes is the 12th hole on the Kuroshio Course, boasting the island green with a spectacular waterfall in the backdrop. This is a thrilling experience where golfers will need to deliver the ball safely over the large open water to the green. They are also required to read the ocean breeze precisely. The gold club is furnished with a public bath where golfers are able to soak in a hot tub to stretch and loosen their tight shoulder muscles. Golfers can overlook the view of the Pacific Ocean Horizon and the vast beauty of the golf course from the on-site restaurant. Serving local specialties of the area, it offers Kochi’s delicious local cuisine, elevating this golf trip to Kochi to a different level.
1000 Ohana, Hidaka-mura, Takaoka-gun, Kochi
With only a 50-minute drive from Kochi City, golfers can easily have the exceptional golf experience in this nature-bound course. Adjacent to the magnificent Niyodo River, it is a flat course with well-preserved bent grass. Blessed with untouched nature and seasonal flowers blooming in each season brightening up the vast landscape. Kochi boasts a pleasant mild winter and a summer that is accompanied by a very welcome breeze to diffuse the summer heat allowing for an ideal year-round golfing destination. The course is designed by a world-renowned designer, Mr. Sho Tobari. He successfully transformed the Makiyama’s forest expansion into a full-scale champion course associated with various strategic elements. Its natural landscape and the strategic design awaits any tournament to be held at all times of the year. The course offers a challenge throughout the round, especially the champion tee which provides additional difficulty, perfectly suited for regular amateurs.
Engulfed with abundant nature, this course requires not only hitting a long drive but also requires accurate golf shots. The out course 4th hole is nestled amidst the natural bush of Enkianthus perulatus dodan-tsutsuji. In fall, their gorgeous and vibrant red tones will bring a spectacular fall landscape, attracting every golfer during the season. Various water features are dotted throughout the course and overcoming these water hazards is the key for a successful outcome. In 2019, the GREEN FEEL GOLF CLUB was the first to introduce YAMAHA’s ‘G30EsV’ golf car in Shikoku. Equipped with a driver assistance automatic system, this is an electromagnetic induction golf car, providing all passengers both a safe and comfortable ride. Dining at the property’s restaurant should not be missed as the chefs embrace a menu with various cuisines, incorporating each of the seasonal ingredients in the dishes to allow the diners to focus on the quality and exceptional taste.
310 Hassenzu, Shimanto-cho, Takaoka-gun, Kochi
This is an exceptionally unique course that introduces Bermuda grass for greens before any other golf courses in Shikoku. The layout of the course is designed as aggressive and adventurous with numerous elevation changes, challenging the golfers with precise and long-distance shots. Its difficulty is evident in the 5th hole, boasting a long downhill shot of approximately 600 yards or 550 meters. There is no caddie service offered at SKY HILL GOLF CLUB and it is only 70 minutes from Kochi City- a destination where all golfers can easily come and play a round. This is a course to suit every golfer from beginners to top professionals. Set in the magnificent Kochi mountains, it is certain to be a highlight of what will be a very memorable round of golf in Kochi.
Golfers can enjoy not only a wonderful golfing facility but also a stunning glamping experience at the glamping accommodation on SKY HILL GOLF CLUB, which is also Shikoku’s very first on-course glamping facility. This is a luxurious escape in self-catering glamping accommodations, including tents, trailer houses, BBQ deck, dinnerware, and proper bathrooms. After golfing on the course located next to the site, there are fabulous Kochi and Shimanto’s local specialties, where golfers can enjoy a BBQ. The night is spectacular with the extra benefit of gazing up the stars while swinging in a comfy hammock. A special offer for this glamping stay is available for those playing on the Sky Hill Golf Club.
Here are some of the top things to do and see in Kochi Prefecture in addition to the exceptional golf experiences.
Hirome Market is the heart and soul of the city. With more than 65 restaurants and shops selling fresh food, alcohol, and clothes, this is the place to experience what Kochi is like at its finest. Similar to a night market, there are long tables in the middle to encourage people to buy food from various restaurants and enjoy them at one of these tables. No wonder it is a place to hang out for both locals and tourists alike. The relaxing and friendly atmosphere guarantees to pump the energy into you, no matter what mood you are feeling. Keep in mind that locals enjoy drinking throughout the day, so be prepared to have a fun time whenever you go!
2-3-1 Obiyamachi, Kochi
The Niyodo River is known for its beautiful cobalt blue colour, extending for over 124 kilometres. The river is wide and deep enough for swimming, fishing, and even a river houseboat! Listen to the songs and stories told by the local guides as you float down this peaceful river. The houseboats come furbished with tatami mats and tables for enjoying a meal while looking out to the river. At the intersection between the Nakatsu River and the Niyodo River lies the Nakatsu Gorge. Also known as the Niyodo Blue, the gorge represents the beautiful natural scenery of Shikoku. For more than 2.3km, the ravine takes you on a scenic tour, weaving between boulders and crossing the river multiple times. At the end of the track is the stunning 20m Uryu waterfall, signaling the end of a magnificent trail.
Nanokawa, Niyodogawa, Agawa-ku, Kochi
The Shimanto River is the longest in Shikoku, just over 196 kilometres long. The last unobstructed stream, with no blockages cutting off the river at some point. Along the river, there are concrete bridges with no railings, known as chinkabashi, which are designed to stand flooding. The bridge is so narrow that it can only accommodate one car at a time. If you ever get an opportunity, visit the longest and most well-known chinkabashi at the mouth of the river. A popular activity in this area is going around the area by bike. Because the land is flat and cars are few, many people travel throughout this area on bicycles. The most popular service is Shimanto Rin-Rin Cycle service, which has several rental locations along the river.
Katsuo, or skipjack tuna or bonito, is a fish well-loved by the locals. For this dish, the katsuo is seared on the outside while the inside remains raw, like sashimi. In Kochi, the katsuo is grilled over high flames created using the rice straws, thus drawing out the rich aroma and flavour of the fish. The katsuo is then thickly sliced to ensure each bite is highly satisfying. Ponzu, Japanese citrus fruit yuzu mixed with soy sauce, is usually served with this dish. Other common condiments include salt, sliced raw garlic and ginger, onions, wasabi, perilla leaves, and myoga ginger.
Nabeyaki Ramen is different from traditional ramen in the sense that nabeyaki ramen is served like a hotpot in a clay pot, instead of a usual bowl. The egg noodles are placed into the chicken broth mixed with soy sauce, topped off with chikuwa (fish cakes), spring onions, and a raw egg. The restaurants gently simmer the ingredients in the pot to enhance the flavours before bringing the steaming hot clay pot over to the table.
Shamo (gamefowl) is a type of chicken that is purebred in Kochi and has been consumed as food since the Edo period. This type of chicken is well-loved because of the texture and depth of its umami flavour. The most popular way to eat the meat is in a shamo hot pot, a favourite of Ryoma Sakamoto, who was a local born hero. The shamo meat and shamo meatballs are simmered with a wide variety of vegetables to extract their flavours into the stock. This dish is especially popular in Nankoku City.