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47 Prefectures from A to Y KOCHI a b c d e f G h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z 30 Kochi A Hearty Welcome overthrow the Tokugawa shogunate in the late 1800s, APAN’s Japan’s fourth- ushering in the modern era of largest island of Shikoku Meiji Japan. lies just across the Seto Kochi is renowned for its Inland Sea from major hospitality and openness to centers such as Kobe, Okayama strangers. This trait is often and Hiroshima. Spanning the attributed to a unique part entire lower half of Shikoku is of Kochi culture known as Kochi, a prefecture blessed with okyaku, which originally an abundance of nature. With its referred to home parties long, beautiful Pacific coastline organized by the wives of pressed against a backdrop of absent fishermen. In order to dramatic mountains, Kochi is allow the hostess to join her home of the Shimanto River, guests in revelry, all of the billed as the last pristine river food was prepared on a single in Japan. Kochi is also famous large plate for self-service – a as the birthplace of Ryōma practice known as sawachi Sakamoto, a samurai credited cuisine. Yoshiro Uemura, with bringing together the two head of the Tosa no Okyaku feudal domains that would Planning Committee, explains NOAM KATZ J Kochi Kochi castle that what was remarkable about okyaku was that age and social position presented no barriers to participation, and “even complete strangers passing by would be invited in to celebrate.” This tradition lives on today in birthday parties, weddings and other celebrations, but visitors can also experience it on a large scale at the Tosa no Okyaku Festival planned by Uemura’s organization and held in early March each year. During the nine-day event, a kilometer-long shopping arcade in the center of Kochi City is converted into a massive drinking hall, where guests can sit outside the