Kochi Castle (高知城, Kōchijō) is one of just twelve Japanese castles to have survived the fires, wars and other catastrophes of the post feudal age. It was first constructed between 1601 and 1611, but most of its main buildings date from 1748 when they were reconstructed after a fire.
The castle used to be the seat of the Yamauchi lords, who ruled over the surrounding region, then known as Tosa, during the Edo Period. The castle buildings have since been designated "important cultural properties", and now house local treasures and historical objects.
A unique feature of Kochi's castle is that its main tower (donjon) was not only used for military purposes, but also as a residence. In most other castles, the lords usually resided in separate palace buildings rather than in the castle keep. The castle's wooden interior maintains the appearance of it Edo Period origins, and the lookout point from the castle tower's top floor offers nice view of downtown.
Kochi Castle is located a short walk from Kochijo-mae tram stop. The tram ride from Kochi Station takes 15 minutes, costs 200 yen and requires a transfer of trams at Harimayabashi. The castle can also be reached in a 20 minute walk from JR Kochi Station or a 10 minute walk from the downtown area around Harimayabashi.