I have never been to, nor have I even heard of, a beach where you are not allowed to swim. Well, welcome to Katsurahama Beach! While you cannot jump in for a dip on this beach because of the strong currents, it is still a majestic sight to behold. This beach is also known for Watatsumi Shrine, having a gorgeous Sakamoto Ryoma Statue, and for being one of the best sights in Kochi.
There is not much sand; instead there is a rich profusion of small, multi-colored rocks and pebbles which coat the berms of the beach all the way into the ocean. All throughout the beach there are large rocks scattered across it, even in the water; this makes swimming dangerous as well. Though they add to the natural beauty of this beach, and they are popular for pictures.
Like with a lot of shrines, there are some stairs to walk in order to reach it. Once you step out of the “sand,” and before you get to the stairs, you must cross a small link known as the Ryugu Bridge.
Once you cross this little bridge, it is time to walk up the stairs. The climb is not too bad, and the view at the top is beautiful. Above are a couple photos of the view from the top. You can see the large rocks scattered amongst the peaking surface of the cobalt blue water.
The shrine itself at the top is not very big, and Watatsumi Shrine always has people there; it is always busy. So I would recommend visiting it really early or really late if you want your experience to be more secluded. The torii gate at this shrine is made of stone instead of wood, which is quite uncommon from my personal experience. Feel free to toss a small amount of change into the saisen (money offered to the gods) box and pray, this money goes directly to upkeep of the shrine.
There is also a compass which tells you where major cities are from your exact point you can look at when you’re up there. It can be a nice feeling to see exactly how far you are from your home country.
You can walk to the other side of the beach from Watatsumi Shrine to see the Sakamoto Ryoma Statue. In the late Edo period, Sakamoto Ryoma was a samurai and an influential figure of the Bakumatsu and creator of the opportunity to defeat the Edo Shogunate. While visiting Katsurahama Beach, be sure to check out the Sakamoto Ryoma Memorial Museum and learn all about him; they have plenty of English options if your Japanese is not up to par.