Surrounded by fantastically shaped rocks and only accessible by a skinny bridge arching over the waves, this retro underwater observation tower would make the perfect lair for a sea-loving villain.
This old-school marvel was built in 1972, and was once a major tourist attraction for both visitors and locals, who came to climb down into the foot of the tower to see fish, sea turtles, mantas (and the occasional lobster) swimming by the porthole windows. No animal cruelty here, as the sea creatures come and go as they please, making for a rather meditative experience for the visitors who continue to drop by today.
The red and white cross-shaped tower is one of the most unusual spots in Ashizuri-Uwakai National Park, and is apparently also one of the few remaining buildings of its kind in Japan. Nearby you can also take glass boat rides to see the flourishing coral and walk on the wild coastlines.
Know Before You Go
The building is part of Ashizuri-Uwakai National Park. To get there you can take a train from JR Kochi Station and get off at Nakamura Station on Tosa Kuroshio Railway. From there switch to an Ashizuri-misaki-bound bus operated by Kochi Seinan Kotsu, get off at Shimizu Plaza Pal bus stop (about a one-hour ride) and transfer to a bus bound for Sukumo Station. Get off at Ashizuri Kaiteikan Mae bus stop. An easier option is to rent a car, as the building is about a 90-minute drive from the Shimantocho-Chuo Exit on Kochi Expressway.