With our planned excursions to sakura-viewing locales foiled, we needed to fill our second scheduled day in Kochi with other activities. It was a rain-filled day, so museum visits seemed appropriate.
That morning, we headed off by commuter train to the nearby town of Ino, home of the Japanese Paper Museum. As far back as the early 1980s, I had taken papermaking courses and, later on, I had built several accordion books for my Walk Project using Japanese washi designed for inkjet printing. In fact, the paper I used was manufactured by Awagami Paper, located just outside Tokushima, right here on Shikoku. So the museum was very much a worthwhile visit, with enough English translation to adequately explain the Tosa paper making process. The visit included a hands-on paper making exercise. Both Gail and I walked away with handsome sets of postcard-sized paper…made by us.
After a good Japanese lunch in Ino, we decided to return to Kochi on one of their historic streetcars. Established in 1904, the Tosaden Kotsu streetcar / tram system not only plies the streets of downtown Kochi, but stretches out as far as Ino. Its antique cars are driven by white-gloved conductors and, true to all rail transportation in Japan, the trams arrive precisely on schedule at each and every stop.
We disembarked mid-city at Kochi’s Cul-Port, a monumentally scaled building devoted to the city’s cultural enterprises. Our specific destination was the Yokohama Memorial Manga Museum, devoted to the work of pioneer cartoonist Ryuichi Yokohama and featuring other manga artists who have followed in his footsteps. The museum is a good, fun introduction to this art form.
The rain just refused to abate. So we headed for Kochi’s arcaded shopping streets, ending the day with a dinner featuring the region’s well-marbled Wagyu beef. All that was left to do was hope for a sunny tomorrow for the resumption of our trek down the Henro-michi.