Ehime prefecture is one of the four prefectures of Shikoku island. Former province of Iyo, Ehime is located on northwest part of Shikoku, facing the Seto inland sea.
The prefectural capital and the most populous city is Matsuyama, which population is over a half of million. Matsuyama, which is also most populous city on Shikoku, it is the archrival of Takamatsu, prefectural capital of neighboring Kagawa prefecture. By the way, "matsu" means pine in Japanese. Matsuyama = Pine mountain. Takamatsu = Tall pine. However, both cities are not famous for pine.
Matsuyama is a home of Dogo onsen hot spring, which is told as Japan's Top 3 hot springs, together with Arima in Kobe and Kusatsu in Gumma prefecture. Therefore tourists visiting Matsuyama usually overnight at one of the ryokan inn locating at Dogo onsen hot spring. However, if you want to enjoy the hot spring but do not want to stay at ryokan inn, you should visit Dogo onsen honkan(main bathhouse). Then, if you have tattoos, the main bathhouse is one of the few public bathhouse which allows persons with tattoos.
The main tourist attraction is Matsuyama castle which was built in 1603 and still has the tenshu(castle tower). Located on Mt.Katsuyama, the tenshu is one of the twelve original tenshu still located in Japan. Actually there were twenty original tenshu till 1930s. Seven tenshu were destroyed due to WWII and another one burnt down in 1949 due to fire.
Another interesting place to visit is Imabari. Imabari is the second populated city in Ehime and main industry is ship manufacturing and dock. Imabari is a Shikoku's side entrance for Shimanami Expressway(officially called Nishiseto Expressway), one of the three expressways connecting Shikoku and Honshu by bridges. Then, Shimanami kaido cycling road, the most famous cycling road in Japan is located too.
What to buy in Ehime?
I recommend traditional confectionery Poeme.
Poeme(and Baby Poeme) is a local confection of Ehime prefecture sold by Poeme co. and Poeme Honpo co. Poeme Honpo has its headquarter in Imabari, Ehime prefecture but Poeme has its headquarter and factory in To-on, Ehime(it used to have in prefectural capital Matsuyama). Poeme Honpo’s Matsuyama store which opened in 1953 became independent company in 1956.
Poeme was sold since 1946 but got huge success in 1955 and it is a Japanese confection adapted to western style, using butter and eggs. The two companies have similar package but nutrition are slightly different which means the tastes are different. Both companies operate own stores in Ehime prefecture.
Poeme co. also operates Poeme Sweets Park in To-on which visitors can watch the manufacturing of the products and also buy those products.
Then, looking for a beverage?
POM juice is a satsuma mandarin juice produced by Ehime Beverage Inc, based in Ehime prefecture. Ehime prefecture is one of the major producers of satsuma mandarin in Japan and POM juice is the most famous satsuma mandarin juice in Japan. There is a joke that the house in Ehime has 3 faucets(taps); cold water, hot water and POM juice.
#shikoku #ehime #matsuyama #imabari #poeme #pom #matsuyamacastle #dogoonsen