Kochi no Ya: Great Town, Great Hostel
I over the years learnt to become more budget conscious about accommodation, especially now that my work style allows me to have longer stays in my destinations. Things have also changed in the hostel industry over the last decade or so. The concept of hostel type accommodation is no longer limited to dorm style accommodation where fitting as many people as possible in one tiny location is the main priority, at least in Asia. Long gone the days when you needed to leave the hostel at 10am and could not have access to your bed/locker before 3pm. The quality of the common areas, the personal space surrounding your bed and more importantly sense of design have greatly improved. Most hostels also offer number of accommodation options including single rooms, large family rooms to most reasonable priced dorm style accommodation.
Over the last five years, my travels have mostly focused on Asia and now I live in Japan. The quality of hostel type accommodation is particularly high in Asia. In Japan, as expectedly, the dorm style accommodation will still cost you somewhere around 3000Yen/night – while more expensive than other popular Asian destinations such as Thailand – the quality truly makes up for it.
I recently had two great hostel experiences during my visit to one of the most rewarding destinations in Japan – Shikoku. One in Hiwase – Ichi the Hostel in Hiwase (Tokushima prefecture) and the other one Kochi no Ya Hostel located in Aki (Kochi prefecture). I will in this post introduce Kochi no Ya Hostel and you can also check out my separate post on Shikoku Pilgrimage Accommodation where I list all the places that I stayed in during my walking trip to Shikoku.
Kochi no Ya Hostel (東風ノ家)
Kochi no Ya Hostel located in the central part of Aki in Kochi occupies a beautiful 80 years old traditional Japanese style home. It has everything you expect from a traditional home with beautiful sliding doors, tatami room sections, and a garden beautifully curated by the host. The moment you step in the hostel, you know that you are in the right place.
Hostel offers different types of accommodation including a reasonably priced tiny but effectively organized single room, dorm style accommodation and private rooms for larger groups of two or more. However, the main appeal of the hostel is the cafe section where you can cook, work, chat with the host and join one of the many pop-up events including a three times a week evening bar.
Ideal Location Close to Cape Muroto
Kochi no Ya is located within a walking distance of Aki train station and its central position allows you to walk to variety of eateries including izakayas, italian restaurants, stylish cafes as well as sushi bars. Aki, being a mid-sized city, makes a very ideal base to discover many wonders of the coast line going from Cape Muroto to Kochi. Ioki Cave is located right at the entrance of the city and can be accessed with a 30 minutes walk from Kochi no Ya. The cave is home to a variety of ferns and offers an easy and short hike to a beautiful waterfall. If you made it to the cave area, you may also want to check out Chez Nous to taste Japanese style curry in a very relaxing atmosphere including a garden sitting.
If you are doing the Shikoku Pilgrimage, Aki stands out as an ideal two days stop to rest your feet, have a good nights sleep and reunite with the civilization. Even if you are not doing the pilgrimage walk, the area definitely still deserves a visit on its own. You can even make a week out of it starting at Cape Muroto, which is the place where Kobo Daishi – the founder of Shingon sect of buddhism in Japan – meditated for years. The area is also home to interesting geological structures, which offer good photo opportunities.