Yusuhara is a town nestled in north-west Kochi Prefecture, a part of the vast Shikoku Karst on the border with Ehime. Spread out over 1,200 m from top to bottom on the southern slope of the Shikoku Mountains, the town is 90 percent covered with forests from which the Yusuhara and Shimagawa Rivers flow and provide clear water to the Shimanto River. It is here in this land blessed with lush greenery and rivers that Yusuhara has nurtured abundant species and carved a special history over the past 1,100 years.
According to folklore, Yusuhara’s history began with the Tsuno estate, a land cultivated by Fujiwara (later Tsuno) Tsunetaka in 913. The Tsuno clan settled down in the area and flourished as part of the seven ruling families of the Tosa Province, but they perished during the Warring States period. The family was eventually replaced by the Chosokabe clan and later the Yamauchi clan to govern the land.
Around the transition from the Edo period to Meiji, the area was called “Tsunoyamago”, with nine villages in existence. Along with the implementation of the municipal system, six towns were integrated in 1889 into what would become the town’s present area, first under the name of Nishi-tsuno village and later Yusuhara village. In 1966, Yusuhara town was born. Today, a half-century later, Yusuhara continues to evolve and add new dimensions to its rich and unique history.
• Please ensure that you bring plenty of warm clothing, as Yusuhara is located in the mountains. Summers tend to be cool (and even cold in the evenings regardless of the month), and winter months occasionally have heavy snowfall.
• Kindly note that few local shops and restaurants accept credit cards. ATMs are also currently limited and they do not provide 24-hour service.
Please note that there is limited public transport service available in town. You might thus consider hiring a car at or around major airports to ensure your handy mobility in town. If you plan to drive around the town, please be aware that there are a number of narrow roads that are not wide enough for two vehicles to pass at the same time. Please drive slowly, and if you see a vehicle coming towards you in a narrow road, please give way to the coming vehicle by waiting at a point where the road is wide enough for two vehicles to pass.
You are likely to come across picturesque shrines and temples during your stay in Yusuhara. These are home for kami (Shinto deities) and places where people visit to show their appreciation for ancestors, the gods, Buddha and all things in nature.
Given that these are not inherent touristic sites, when paying a visit to these places please give special attention to simple manners and etiquette—such as purifying yourself by washing hands and rinsing mouth with pure water before praying; refraining from taking pictures in prayer areas; and refraining from eating, drinking and smoking within the precincts except where expressly permitted.
People in Yusuhara greet each other regularly, and this is also so with people that they might not know. Do join the local greeting culture and exchange ohayou gozaimasu (good morning), konnichiwa (hello) and oyasumi nasai (good night) with people around you.