Road Trip on Dosan Line (Part 2)

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Road Trip on Dosan Line (Part 2)

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Road Trip on Dosan Line (Part 2)

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Our trip along the JR Dosan Line in Kochi Prefecture continues. On the first day, we spend the night at an inn called Kanpo no Yado in Ino. It is known for the breathtaking view of Niyodo River and the surroundings from its rooms. We soak in its relaxing hot spring, after which we feast on a traditional Japanese multi-course meal featuring seasonal Kochi ingredients. Dishes include tempura of dried sea lettuce harvested from Shimanto River, Spanish mackerel grilled with cheese and Shimanto pork shabu-shabu.

The next morning, after breakfast at the inn, we catch the 9.15am train from Ino Station and head to Asakura Station. We then speak to a university student who suggests we visit the IKUS Bakery Cafe at Kochi University. Its strawberry melon bread is very popular. We walk to the school building where the bakery is located. It is open to the general public too. Each morning, more than 50 kinds of bread are baked here. The famous strawberry melon bread, which is shaped like melon bread, is fluffy on the inside and crispy on the outside.

We head back to the station and take the 11.35am train to Asahi Station, five minutes away. The next train from here is at 2.05pm. A local we meet recommends we check out a special bell at Kochi Junior and Senior High School. It is situated inside a dome-like structure on top of the school. We get to meet the principal, who tells us about the famous Bell of the World. The first bell was originally made in 1957. It was created using copper coins donated from 85 schools in 25 countries. It was built as a symbol of world peace and harmony.   

The current bell has been used by the school since 2005. There are more coins on this second bell, compared to the original one. Every day at 8am and 3pm, a student representative will ring the bell. It is a familiar sound which has become a part of the locals’ lives for more than 60 years.  

We next travel by the 2.05pm train to Engyojiguchi Station. We ask a local about famous places in the area and he mentions a temple called Gokurakuji. Another resident tells us about a wire art workshop run by an Australian artist. We go to Gokurakuji first. In Shikoku, there is a pilgrimage path to visit various Fudo Myo-o temples and it includes 36 different sacred spots. Gokurakuji is the 16th sacred place along this path. It is similar to 88 temples of Shikoku linked to Kobo Daishi.

After visiting the sacred traditional temple, we walk to the wire art workshop. We meet Nicolas, who moved to Kochi two years ago. At his store, one can see the products made using his wire art skills. They include bicycles - each of which has been made using a single piece of wire - and a bonsai-like structure made of combined wires and which costs about 20,000 yen.

We advance to the last stop of our journey, Kochi Station, by the 3.50pm train. We reach the station after less than five minutes. A local resident recommends we eat at Niju Yonman Goku in Obiyamachi, which serves Kochi's specialities. We walk for 15 minutes to the restaurant, our final spot of this two-day trip along the Dosan Line. We order the 2,590-yen set menu which comprises dishes such as Kochi beef steak and Chankonabe, a hot pot commonly eaten by sumo wrestlers. For the latter, the special soy sauce-based broth includes ingredients such as fish balls made of horse mackerel.

 Tips:

1) A must-eat sweet treat is the strawberry melon bread from IKUS Bakery Cafe at Kochi University

2) Check out the unique Bell of the World at Kochi Junior and Senior High School

 

 

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