Introduction

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Kochi is a land of lush forests and blue seas, and people who have learnt to harmonize with our rich and varied environment. To the north, the Shikoku Ranges form our border with Ehime and Tokushima Prefectures. To the south, Kochi sweeps out into the Pacific Ocean in a large arc, reminiscent of a folding paper fan. With a total area of 7105 square kilometers, Kochi is the largest prefecture of the four on Shikoku Island, and 18th largest in Japan. 84% of this land area is covered in forest, with a population of 764,456 (2010 National Census). At number 45 in terms of residents, we are quite sparsely populated, with a density of only 112.1 people per square kilometer. Our climate is warm and humid, with sub-tropical plants such as Acoh and Biroh found on Ashizuri and Muroto Capes. Early-bearing varieties of rice are grown on the plains. Indeed, Kochi is one of Japan’s bread-baskets, having long produced vegetables in greenhouses. With a long Pacific border, we also boast a stunning coastline.

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The west has many inlets, and the upraised east coast is blessed with broad sandy beaches. It is this complex geography, our warm climate and the many typhoons that cross our coastline that have produced the unique culture of Kochi Prefecture.