Ehime Prefecture Overview
Ehime is one of the four prefectures that make up the island of Shikoku. Dominating the northwestern corner of the island, Ehime faces onto the Uwa Sea to the west and the Seto Inland Sea to the north where a number of islands are scattered up towards Hiroshima Prefecture. Inland, towering mountains offer beautiful scenery and outdoor activities while the prefecture’s cities brim with culture, history, and popular attractions.
One of the highlights of Ehime Prefecture is its hundreds of kilometres of picturesque coastline which boast secluded white sand beaches and crystal clear blue waters. While the beaches border the sea all the way up the coast, the population of Ehime is concentrated mainly around the north of the prefecture with the exception of a couple of cities in the south. Matsuyama, the prefectural capital and largest city in Shikoku, is the main draw to the prefecture thanks to the 400-year-old Matsuyama Castle and Dogo Onsen, one of the oldest and most celebrated natural hot springs in Japan.
Achieving superlative status across the board, Ehime is also home to Shikoku’s highest mountain, Mt. Ishizuchi, whose unusually shaped peak sits among the central mountain range of the island. The Shikoku mountains are mostly visited as part of the Shikoku pilgrimage, a route that travels across all four of the island’s prefectures visiting 88 temples along the way, 26 of which are in Ehime Prefecture.
In the very north of Ehime Prefecture lies Imabari, a city best known for their production of high-quality towels, and as the starting point for the Shimanami Kaido. This is a route that covers a total of six islands between Ehime Prefecture and Hiroshima Prefecture, each of which is connected by a magnificent suspension bridge. This 60-kilometer toll road can be traversed by car or by foot but is a challenge most commonly taken on by cyclists with cycle paths found all along the route.
Other points of interest include the traditional streets of Uchiko, Iyo City, and Uwajima which is famous for pearls and bullfighting. Bull Sumo Wrestling is a popular attraction in the area as well as the Ushioni Japanese bullfighting festival. More sedate festivals in Ehime include the annual mikan festival, celebrating the prefecture’s high production of mandarin oranges, as well as a number of other dance and drum-centred festivals.
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- Matsuyama Castle
- Ehime Pref. Matsuyamashi Marunouchi