Muroto's status as a UNESCO-listed Geopark first alerts visitors to the unique topography of the site. Indeed this spectacular city, located on the southern cape of Kochi prefecture, Shikoku, meets all expectations. The Muroto Peninsula features a subduction zone from which new land emerges, pushed up from beneath the ocean by shifting tectonic plates. Its coastline is strewn with oddly-shaped boulders, wild, wind-swept vegetation, tropical flowers and intriguing rock formations. The city's human inhabitants have also adapted to withstand coastal conditions - building sturdy townhouses (perfectly preserved in the Kiragawa area) and farming on the naturally formed marine terraces carved out of the hills.

Buddhist pilgrims aside (Muroto is home to a famous Kukai temple), it's the picturesque countryside and ocean panoramas that draw visitors to Muroto. Its fascinating geological attributes - fossils, turbidites, caves, cliffs and jagged reefs - create landscapes of rare drama and beauty. The waters offshore are also unique, featuring warm currents favored by dolphins and sperm whales, and nutrient-rich deep seawater that serves local thalassotherapy spas.


A handpicked selection of experiences endorsed by our experts. If you can’t see what you’re looking for, let us know, as our extensive network of local contacts can open many doors.


See Muroto’s fascinating rock formations up close with a walk along the shoreline of the cape, between boulders and past fossils that were formed on the ocean floor millions of years ago. See the layers of turbidite formations, tubeworm colonies and rocks warped by the area’s harsh elements.

Hotsumisakiji Temple

See an important local Buddhist site with a visit to the Hotsumisakiji Temple, of the Shingon sect. Founded in 805 by Kōbō-Daishi/Kukai after achieving enlightenment, the temple features several buildings with historic architecture, and a statue of the deity Kokuzo Bosatsu - said to have been carved by Kukai - to whom he chanted a million times.

Mikurodo Cave

Visit Mikurodo Cave, where the beloved 8th-century monk Kōbō-Daishi spent three years attaining enlightenment. Kōbō-Daishi was reportedly so enamored of the coastal views his cave afforded that he changed his name to Kukai, derived from the Japanese words for sky (ku) and sea (kai).

Ransho Promenade

Take a scenic walk along the coastline on the one-and-a-half-mile trail called Ransho Promenade (or “Reef-Watching Walking Path”). From here, take in breathtaking panoramas of Cape Muroto being pummeled by the Pacific Ocean, its dark volcanic rocks disappearing into sea foam. Along the way, enjoy views of nearby Cape Ashizuri and keep on the lookout for dolphins and whales cavorting offshore.

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