Nature in Ehime
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Setonaikai National Park
- When you think national park, do you imagine landlocked plains, rolling hills, and woodlands? However, Setonaikai National park wears a different face. It comprises areas of Japan’s inland sea and contains over 3,000 small islands! With an area of 900,000 hectares (including the sea area), it proudly bears the status of largest national park in Japan. It’s huge and has so much variety that first-time visitors might be overwhelmed, so here are the top picks of the don’t miss islands. Angel Road, Shodoshima Angel Road, Shodoshima Shodoshima is the second largest island in the Seto Inland Sea and has many great things to see and do. Don’t miss the monkey park, the death-defying Kankakei Gorge, or the 50m tall white statue of Kannon, the Buddhist goddess of mercy. But the most unique attraction on Shodoshima is the sublime Angel Road. At low tide, the waters part and this wonderous path is revealed. It’s a walkable sandbar that allows you to walk to three tiny neighboring islands. The experience is really compelling, which is perhaps why it came to have a romantic association. It’s said that if you walk Angel Road hand in hand with your lover, your relationship will be strengthened. Demon Cave, Megijima Demon Cave, Megijima Megijima, a small but fascinating island, lies 4km off the coast of Takamatsu. It was said that demons used to inhabit Megijima, and the island is where the eponymous ‘peach boy’ fought them in the famous folktale Momotaro. Today, the Megijima demon cave can be entered for a few hundred yen and the demon sculptures on display are more cute than threatening. Oishi Park, Awajishima Oishi Park, Awajishima Awajishima is the largest of the Seto Inland Sea's islands and perhaps the most culturally significant. According to some folklore, it’s the birthplace of Japan. On the southeast reaches of the islands, Oishi Park is a gem of natural beauty. It’s primarily known for two things: over 250 beautiful plum trees and great views. The latter are truly special. You can see the Kitankaikyo Strait and Osaka Bay from the park’s viewing point. World War Two History, Okunoshima World War Two History, Okunoshima Okunoshima is best known as the ‘rabbit island’ thanks to the large number of fluffy friends that roam freely across the island. But cute bunnies aside, this island is a great spot to see some fascinating history. During World War II, Japan was a signatory of the Geneva Convention, which meant that it was prohibited from using chemical weapons. However, the Japanese government established a chemical munitions factory in secret on Okunoshima. The ruins are still here today, an interesting and imposing reminder of the island’s history. The Shimanami Kaido The Shimanami Kaido It may seem counterintuitive, but one of the most enjoyable things to do in Setonaikai National Park is to drive around it! The Shimanami Kaido is a 60km road that connects sixof the park’s islands to Shikoku. As well as the road, there are cycle routes. Either way, with its spectacular scenery and some vertigo-inducing bridges, the Shimanami Kaido is a unique experience. ©NAVITIME JAPAN. Travel Info Check out our travel tips to make your trip better!
- 13. June. 2018
The Islands of the Shimanami Kaido
- For a break from the usual sights of Japan, the Shimanami Kaido offers visitors a great chance to see some of the natural beauty of some of Japan’s many islands and seaside towns. The Shimanami Kaido is a 60-kilometer toll road that connects six islands. You could drive the 60 kilometers in a car, but the road has become popular with cyclists thanks to its dedicated bike path. The Islands of the Shimanami Kaido The various islands have a lot of things you’ll want to pull over for, so the first thing you’ll need to do is rent a bike. There are two main options for bike rentals. First, you could opt for the regular rentals run by Shimanami Kaido. It costs only about 1,000 yen to rent a regular bike for the day and 1,000 yen for the deposit; they also have tandem bikes and electric bikes available. There are many rental spots along the road, so you can drop the bike off at any of them, but you won’t get your deposit back unless you return it to where you got it from. The other option is the Giant rental spots; they have much nicer bikes, but they are a bit more expensive. There are two Giant rental stations, one at Imabari Station and one at Onomichi Station. Rentals range from 4,000 yen to 13,000 yen per day. The Islands of the Shimanami Kaido After you get a bike, you’ll have a lot to see. Between Hakata Island and Oshima, Funaoriseto Strait is a nice place to take in a view of the whirlpools in the waters below. Habu Port on Innoshima Island is a great detour for anyone wanting a more rural view of Japan. This port town has a variety of local restaurants and shops, but it’ll probably be pretty sleepy. There are several parks and temples, but it’s not exactly a tourist destination. The Islands of the Shimanami Kaido ©NAVITIME JAPAN. Travel Info Check out our travel tips to make your trip better!
- 13. June. 2018
The Undiscovered Coastline of Western Shikoku
- Outside of Japan’s most southern and most tropical island, Okinawa, there are few beaches that the country is famed for. However, Shikoku has kilometers upon kilometers of underrated coastline packed full of little-known beaches, small port towns, and other fantastic scenery. With Ehime Prefecture stretching all the way up the coast looking on to both the Seto Inland Sea and the Uwa Sea, there are endless breathtaking spots to be uncovered on a journey along the coastal roads. The Undiscovered Coastline of Western Shikoku Whether you’re a beach addict or not, there are few people that can’t appreciate a deserted beach on a sunny day. Ehime’s west coast offers a seemingly never-ending stream of remote beaches from small roadside pockets to larger stretches of golden sand. While admittedly the majority of the beaches are small and hard to get to by public transport, there are a few larger and comparatively popular beaches including the irresistible Futami Seaside Park. The Undiscovered Coastline of Western Shikoku Futami Seaside Park is a great spot for sunbathing, beach sports, and a dip in the unexpectedly clear ocean with nearby restaurants and a roadside station available to keep you hydrated and fed. However, the crowds really start to form in the evening. Known for its sunsets, many a couple visit Futami to catch a glimpse of the sunset through the hole of the beach’s trademark statue which displays lyrics about the dragonflies that visit at dusk. The Undiscovered Coastline of Western Shikoku ©NAVITIME JAPAN. Travel Info Check out our travel tips to make your trip better!
- 20. February. 2018
Ehime Main Areas
Stretched across the northwest corner of Shikoku island, Ehime is a nature-rich prefecture boasting beautiful coastlines and a rural center where mountains play host to 26 of the Buddhist temples that make up the Shikoku Pilgrimage. Matsuyama is home to an original post-feudal castle as well as Dogo Onsen, one of the country’s oldest natural hot springs. The northern city of Imabari marks the entrance to the Shimano Kaido, a road that crosses six spectacular bridges and several islands, forming a route between Shikoku and mainland Honshu.
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