Motoyama, Kōchi

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View of Motoyama on route 439
View of Motoyama on route 439
Flag of Motoyama
Official seal of Motoyama
Location of Motoyama in Kōchi Prefecture
Location of Motoyama in Kōchi Prefecture
Motoyama is located in Japan
Location in Japan
Coordinates: 33°45′N 133°35′E / 33.750°N 133.583°E / 33.750; 133.583Coordinates: 33°45′N 133°35′E / 33.750°N 133.583°E / 33.750; 133.583
PrefectureKōchi Prefecture
 • Total134.21 km2 (51.82 sq mi)
 (May 1, 2017)
 • Total3,605
 • Density27/km2 (70/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+09:00 (JST)
WebsiteTown of Motoyama
BirdJapanese robin
FlowerCherry blossom

Motoyama (本山町, Motoyama-chō) is a town located in Nagaoka District, Kōchi Prefecture, Japan.


Since the Meiji Restoration, what is now called Motoyama town has gone through several territorial changes. In 1889, 12 villages combined to become what was called Nishimotoyama Village, which was renamed as Motoyama Village a year later. In 1910 the village was reclassified as a "town." Also in 1889, 13 other villages neighboring Motoyama combined to become Yoshino Village. It was in 1955 when Motoyama and Yoshino villages combined, but soon after that 5 western wards were separated and were incorporated into the neighboring Tosa.

Population and Demographics[edit]

The population in Motoyama was 7,343 in 1965, but as of May 2017 it has gone down to 3‚605 and continues to decrease.[1]

According to the 2005 census: the population of people 15 years old and under is 417, the population of those 65 years and over is 1,657 and the percentage of seniors in Motoyama is 38% compared to the prefectural average of 26%. There are 1,835 households with on average 2.32 people per household. The number of people per household continues to decrease as households with seniors continue to increase. It is assumed that this trend will continue for the foreseen future.


  • Flower Festival (Hana-matsuri) March 25 – May 6
A festival which welcomes the coming of spring along with the blooming of various flowers. Cherry blossoms and Tsutsuji (azalea) can be seen in the central area of Motoyama, while the highlight of the festival can be seen at the nearby Kizenzan Park (帰全山公園) where over 30,000 Shakunage (rhododendron) are displayed.
  • Asemi River Marathon late July
An annual marathon first held in 1986, where roughly 500 participants run along the Asemi river.
  • Yoshino River Rafting Festival middle of August
This raft racing festival has origins from when lumber traders shipped hinoki (cypress) wood from Shiraga Mountain in rafts down the river. Participants can race in either traditional style raft racing or the free style division. The traditional style race involves teams with 6 participants racing on rafts made of wooden logs over 5m in length. The free style class involves participating teams bringing their own self made rafts. These teams compete over not just the visual attractiveness of the raft but also the `style` in which they raft down the river.
  • Town Festival middle of August
The annual town festival features a traditional Taiko performance, Bon odori (Japanese folk dance), and fireworks. There is also a parade leading up to the festival where Yosakoi style dancing can be seen.
  • Athletic Festival early October
This 50-year-old festival features teams from various businesses and professions participating in athletic competitions. Hundreds of locals participate in various athletic games in hopes of promoting the benefits of team work and healthy competition.
  • Autumn Culture Festival middle of November
Held during the time of harvest in Motoyama. There are also shops set up from Motoyama's sister town, Urausu. The local community center hosts stage performances and also exhibits local art. At the closing of the festival, a Mochi scattering ceremony is held where hundreds of people fill the assembly grounds.

Tourist sites[edit]

A view of Motoyama town from on top of Sameura Dam
Mount Kizen Park (帰全山公園, Kizen-zan kõen)
In spring time the park is full of cherry blossoms and shakunage flowers (rhododendron), a sight that is famous within Kochi prefecture. In fact, the park is also called Shakunage Park. At the entrance is a statue of Kenzan Nonaka (野中 兼山), a local politician during the Edo period.
Mount Shiraga (白髪山, Shiraga-yama)
At 1470 m Shiraga is Motoyama's most prominent mountain. When ascending the mountain, one can see hinoki (cypress) trees from 150 to 200 years old by the road side.
There are two approach sites where mountaineers can begin their ascent, which should take no more than 90 minutes.
Asemi River Glen (汗見川渓谷, Asemigawa keikoku)
A location with thousands of years of history with beautiful flowers in the spring but is also a great place to go camping in the summer.
Akadaki Falls (赤滝)
Deep inside the mountains one can see a waterfall that sews its way through the greenery and foliage.

Local products[edit]

  • Organic rice
  • Shiitake mushrooms
  • Reihoku beef
  • Shiso (Perilla frutescens var. crispa) juice
  • Yuzu orange juice
  • Yuzu orange vinegar
  • Miso
  • Green tea and senna tea


Motoyama is renowned for its canoeing, kayaking and white water rafting.[citation needed]

Sister city[edit]

Motoyama Town's sister city is Urausu, Hokkaidō.

Sameura Dam[edit]

Sameura Dam

On the border between Motoyama and its neighboring town to the west, Tosa, is the Sameura Dam, the largest dam in Shikoku.


  1. ^ (All statistics are provided in the official town website [1])

External links[edit]