Travel in EHIME

Stay overnight in Ehime Prefecture

What is Ehime Prefecture like? Where should I stay?

The Seto Inland Sea is well-known among Japan’s beautiful landscapes for its many islands floating on the sea. Ehime Prefecture faces the Seto Inland Sea and has a bounty of attractions for travelers. These include the internationally famous cycling road that links islands in the Seto Inland Sea, the Shimanami Kaido, and the great outdoors such as the Shikoku Karst and Mt. Ishizuchi. Also included are foods made from fresh seafood and fruit, various hot springs centering on Dogo, and historical heritages such as castle towns and copper mine site. We’ll introduce accommodations that meet various needs to enable you to fully enjoy Ehime. With so much to offer, why not take advantage of all the ways to experience Ehime?

The four major areas in Ehime Prefecture

(1)しまなみ海道・今治エリア (2)西条・新居浜・四国中央エリア(東予) (3)松山・道後エリア(中予) (4)宇和島・八幡浜エリア(南予)

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The Shimanami Kaido &
Imabari City
The Shimanami Kaido (Oshima, Hakatajima, Omishima) & Imabari area

This area is great for cycling on the world-famous Shimanami Kaido and enjoying the string of islands floating on the Seto Inland Sea. There are many highlights. Oshima Island has the ruins of the Murakami Suigun headquarters, the most powerful pirates in Japan. Hakatajima Island has long been known for producing salt and as a hub for marine transportation, while Omishima Island has vast national treasures and important cultural properties. Imabari is the starting point for the Shikoku side of the Shimanami Kaido, and we recommend you base your travel in the city, which is famous for producing luxury towels. It has JR Imabari Station where limited express trains stop and maintains cycling facilities. You can also fully enjoy seafood dishes in this area because it is right next to the sea.

Stay on the islands of Oshima, Hakatajima, and Omishima

The islands of Oshima, Hakatajima, and Omishima float in the Seto Inland Sea along the Shimanami Kaido. Not only will you find long-established Japanese-style inns, guesthouses, and hotels, but new accommodations are continuously opening. These include different types such as cycling hostels, glamping facilities, and cottages. Many offer an ocean view, so you’re sure to have an exceptional overnight experience.

Stay in Imabari

Imabari is the starting point on the Shikoku side of the Shimanami Kaido. There are plenty of hotels of varying types and price ranges concentrated in the vicinity of JR Imabari Station. If you venture a little way from the city center, there are hot springs such as Nibukawa Onsen and Yunoura Onsen. This makes it possible to plan a trip to thoroughly enjoy hot springs in the mountains, the sea, and the many floating islands. Many hotels offer money-saving plans for cyclists, so be sure to check them out.

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Eastern Area The Toyo area (Saijo/Niihama/Shikokuchuo)

The Toyo area is in between the Seto Inland Sea and Shikoku Mountains. Saijo is known as the “spring water capital” because it has the best-tasting spring water in Japan. That water springs forth in the vicinity of Mt. Ishizuchi where there is a range of mountains standing over 1,500 m high. Here, you can delight in some of the best nature and views in Shikoku. Niihama has long been known as an industrial city. At the historical site of Besshi Copper Mine, which flourished from the 17th to 20th centuries, you can enjoy a superb view that is called the Machu Picchu of the East. Shikokuchuo deserves a look for Suiha Kogen, a plateau covered with rapeseed flowers in spring and early blooming cosmos in summer to early fall, as well as the many temples and shrines that remain in the city.

Stay in Saijo/Niihama/Shikokuchuo

The JR Yosan Line cuts across this area and runs along the coast. There are many hotels around major stations, including Kawanoe, Iyomishima, Niihama, and Iyosaijo. We recommend Iyosaijo Station as a base for travel because there is a bus to Mt. Ishizuchi hiking trails that departs from there. The station also provides easy access to major cities in Ehime such as Imabari and Matsuyama.

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Central Area The Chuyo area (Matsuyama/Dogo Onsen)

The Chuyo area basically coincides with the city of Matsuyama, which is the seat of prefectural government in Ehime Prefecture. There are so many places to see that you could complete your travels in Matsuyama’s city center alone. These include Matsuyama Castle, Dogo Onsen Honkan, Saka no Ue no Kumo Museum, and foods on Okaido Shopping Street. Traveling from Matsuyama Airport to JR Matsuyama Station takes about 15 min. by bus. The city has an approximately 400-year history as a castle town, and is perfect for your first cycling trip because there are many flat roads in the refined streetscape.

Stay in Matsuyama/Dogo Onsen

Hotels are numerous in central Matsuyama, which is the largest city in Shikoku. You won’t have trouble finding an accommodation since there are many inns in the vicinity of the Okaido area on the south side of Matsuyama Castle and in the Dogo Onsen area. However, you won’t feel inconvenienced no matter where you stay since central Matsuyama and Dogo Onsen are just ten minutes or so away by bus or streetcar. You’ll enjoy such a diverse range of lodging that you’ll have trouble choosing one.

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Southern Area The Nanyo area(Uchiko/Ozu/Yawatahama/
Ikata/Uwajima/Ainan/Shikoku Karst)

The Nanyo area spreads out on the westernmost part of Shikoku and is full of the most profound attractions in Ehime Prefecture. The town of Uchiko has a streetscape of traditional, white-walled buildings from approximately 250 years ago. The city of Ozu was once a castle town and still retains many historic buildings. Ikata is a town located on Sadamisaki Peninsula, the narrowest peninsula in Japan that juts out on the western tip of Shikoku. Yawatahama is famous as the “fish town” for its prosperous fishing industry. If you travel further south, you’ll arrive at the city of Uwajima, the largest castle town in the Nanyo area where you can see fighting bulls, a rarity in Japan. Not to be missed is the amazing landscape of the Shikoku Karst that extends over a mountainous range in the inland region.

Stay in Uchiko/Ozu

There are numerous historical buildings preserved in the Uchiko/Ozu area, and many spots where you can experience fantastic overnight stays that make use of those buildings. Not only are there facilities that have renovated old houses and that let you rent an entire house, but amazingly in Ozu you can also stay in Ozu Castle, an important cultural property.

Stay in Yawatahama/Ikata

This area is in the vicinity of Sadamisaki Peninsula, the narrowest peninsula in Japan that juts out on the westernmost tip of Shikoku. While there isn’t an array of accommodations, there are several hotels and Japanese-style inns scattered in central Yawatahama and Japanese-style inns and guesthouses in Ikata. You can enjoy local seafood while connecting with local people at a quiet accommodation surrounded by the sea.

Stay in Uwajima/Ainan

There are various types of accommodations, primarily hotels, in the city of Uwajima, the largest castle town in the Nanyo area, so you won’t have any trouble finding lodging. Further south along the rias coastline in the town of Ainan accommodations are few, but you’ll find hotels, Japanese-style inns, and guesthouses.

Stay in the Shikoku Karst

The Shikoku Karst is on a plateau 1,000–1,485 m above sea level straddling Ehime and Kochi prefectures. This area, far from the urban region, has a landscape of exposed limestone rock and grassland. However, even here you’ll find hotels, Japanese-style inns, and lodges sprinkled about, so you can stay overnight. The air is clean and free of buildings, so at night the expansive, beautiful starry sky stretches out above.

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Make reservations in this area Travel by bicycle to see the many sights in Ehime Prefecture
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