Translated by MATCHA_En
Okkoya, In Kochi Prefecture: A Shop Where Nature And People Gather
Written by Ayame Nagano
In Akaoka, Kochi prefecture, a seaside town, you'll find Okkoya, a shop that draws visitors and locals alike thanks to its selection of unique, original items and relaxed, friendly atmosphere.
For those of you who’ve “already seen the cities and want to explore the countryside,” then why not go to the east area of Kochi prefecture in the Shikoku region of Japan and visit the seaside town of Akaoka?
In this town, you will find Okkoya, a store where a number of miscellaneous Japanese items line the shelves.
A traditional variety goods shop, Okkoya has a number of items available at very reasonable prices, and plenty of unique, original items that you won't see anywhere else. This is the perfect place to go if you are looking for a truly interesting souvenir.
The Seaside Town of Akaoka
Pictured above is Akaoka Station, it’s about 35 minutes from Kochi Station by train on the Dosan line heading towards Nahari.
Akaoka is a seaside town, so when you get off at Akaoka Station you’ll immediately be able to see the sea. Also, Kochi prefecture is well known in Asia as being the birthplace of Takashi Yanase, the man behind the famous Japanese cartoon Anpanman. Because of this, there is a statue at this station of a character that Takashi created known as "Akaoka Ekinsan."
Okkoya - a Noticeably Unique Shop
This is Okkoya, which is only a five-minute walk from JR Akaoka Station. Upon exiting Akaoka Station, go west and follow the road. By doing so, you’ll be heading towards the Yokocho Shopping Street.
As you can see from the exterior of the store, Okkoya is a store that’s overflowing with miscellaneous goods. The owner Mr. Mashiro is a very friendly person, so no matter when you visit this store you’ll find one or more of the locals there. It’s not just people who are visiting Japan from abroad, but apparently many Japanese people from all over also visit this store.
Great Selection - Here Are Just Some of Okkoya’s Best Souvenirs
Okkoya has many of its own original items for sale. Out of those items, there are three in particular that we’d like to share with you.
1. Origami Earrings
These are the popular Okkoya earrings. The earrings here are all handmade, so no two earrings are alike. These earrings are so popular, they apparently fly off the shelves.
2. An Assortment of Tosa Japanese Paper
Whether it be for writing a letter, wrapping something up, or a craft, here you can get a hold of a type of Tosa washi paper that can only be found in Kochi prefecture. Tosa is the old name for Kochi prefecture.
3. Tosa Hand Towels
Pictured above are tenugui, a type of Japanese hand towel. These Tosa tenugui contain images of various ingredients used in cooking as well as illustrations of Tosa fish. Available in a rich variety of colors and patterns, these tenugui all make a delightful present. There are also more in store than the selection in the photo above, so make sure to take your time and find the perfect tenugui for you or a friend when visiting Okkoya.
The Unusual Store that People Love
In Okkoya, there are also a number of yukata and kimono lining the shelves. If you find something that catches your eye, then don’t hesitate to ask one of the store clerks. Here, they’ll let you try it on right there and then.
Even if you don’t say anything, Mr. Mashiro will ask those first-timers to the store if they want to wear a yukata too.
One thing that you will probably notice right away when visiting is the number of people, locals and visitors alike, that gather at this store. It's almost like a meeting place, and the ideal spot to go if you are hoping to chat with some locals.
When the author visited, they tried on a yukata, and many of the locals stopped to talk with them as a result. This is a fun, casual shop where you can find great items and make new connections too.
Mr. Mashiro also provides coffee and tea to visitors here, so you may even find yourself hanging out at Okkoya for a while. No matter what the occasion, there are always people gathering at Okkoya, an unusual store selling wonderful, original items. You'll want to come back again and again.
Address: Kochi, Konan, Akaoka, 448-1
Credit Cards: Cash only
Other Languages: Japanese, English
Nearest Station: JR Akaoka Station
Access: 5-minute walk from the JR Akoka Station
Website: Okkoya (Japanese)