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Kochi, Japan

Japan’s Shikoku island is a popular place of pilgrimage among Japanese Buddhists. Kochi has three of the 88 temples on the route. Chikurinji Temple, with its five-story pagoda, is one of them. Located on Mount Godaisan, it also features an adjacent botanical garden. The town is most famous for its castle, originally built in the early 17th century, but largely rebuilt following a fire in the mid-18th century. It is one of only 12 existing feudal-period castles in Japan. South of the town, Katsurahama beach is a popular destination, although swimming is not allowed due to strong currents. A picturesque shrine located on a high point overlooking the sea is the perfect postcard image of rural Japan. The beach is also a good spot to enjoy Katsuo no Tataki, the traditional local dish of lightly grilled and seasoned bonito tuna.