Let’s Explore Japan: Ehime

Located in Shikoku, southwest of Japan’s main island Honshu, Ehime prefecture is known for its warm weather and plenty of sunny days. Thanks to beautiful landscapes and tantalising produce, Ehime is a prefecture that charms all who visit, mirroring the meaning of its name, ‘lovely princess’. Located just an hour and a half from Tokyo or an hour from Osaka by plane, Ehime is a must-see destination if you’re travelling around Japan!

Ehime’s 3000 year-old onsen

Thought to be the oldest hot spring in Japan, Dogo Onsen Honkan has been mentioned in the ancient texts of the Kojiki and Manyoshu and throughout the 3,000 years since. Located in Ehime’s largest city, Matsuyama, Dogo Onsen Honkan features a three-storey castle-style wooden structure and has been a prominent feature of film and literary masterpieces such as ‘Bocchan’ by Natsume Souseki.

Once you’re done enjoying the hot springs, put on a Yukata robe and enjoy a scenic walk through this Onsen town frozen in time thanks to its designation as an Important Cultural Property.

Scenic cycle routes

In just the two decades since it was built, Shimanami Kaido has become an extremely popular cycling destination, not only in Japan but around the world too. The 70-kilometre cycling route across the Seto Inland Sea starts in Imabari City, Ehime Prefecture and spans six islands all the way to Onomichi City, Hiroshima Prefecture.

When cycling across the bridge, there’s definitely no shortage of sights to see as on each of the six islands (Mukojima, Innoshima, Ikuchijima, Omishima, Hakatashima and Oshima) there are observation points and tourist attractions such as temples, shrines, museums, hot springs and parks!

Jaw-dropping panoramas

With a 360-degree panoramic view stretching from the Seto Inland Sea to the Shikoku Mountains, the highland areas around Suiha Kogen are a feast for the eyes. Fields blanketed in rapeseed blossoms in the spring, and cosmos during the summer and early autumn. Two festivals are held here every year – the Minara Rapeseed Flower Festival in mid-April and the Cosmos Festival in mid-August at which you can behold the spectacle of blossoming rapeseed flowers.

Whether you’re stopping by the observatory to scan night skies littered with stars, or simply enjoy the highland flowers and Ishizuchi Mountains, there’s a little something for everyone at Suiha Kogen.

A bridge to somewhere special 

Built in 1396, Yuge Shrine is a traditional shrine that can only be entered by crossing the Taikobashi Bridge. The shrine itself is surrounded by a large pond and picturesque foliage made up of huge chinquapin trees. Shrine parishioners visit day after day flying flags to pray for rich harvests and the well-being of their families, making this a spot of both natural and spiritual beauty.

Have you visited Ehime? Which parts of this beautiful prefecture would you like to visit most? Let us know in the comments below! Our online recipe section is packed full of tasty sweet and savoury recipe ideas for all seasons and occasions!

Enjoy all this and more by shopping in-store at Japan Centre Leicester Square, Westfield London and Westfield Stratford City. Alternatively you can get fresh produce delivered straight to your door by shopping online at the Japan Centre website.