For us here at Japan Centre, 2019 brings not only a new year but also the return of our regional fairs showcasing artisan produce from Japan’s numerous regions. From 7-27 January 2019, we start by exploring the wonders of the Ehime Prefecture (愛媛県)! With new products imported directly from Japan both in-store and online, and free sampling events at our stores, let’s start by learning a little more about Japan’s ‘lovely princess’.
Why Ehime Prefecture?
Located in Shikoku (四国), southwest of Japan’s main island Honshu (本州), Ehime (愛媛) is known for generally 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 (東京) or an hour from Osaka (大阪) 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 (道後温泉本館) has been mentioned in the ancient texts of the Kojiki (古事記) and Manyoshu (万葉集) and throughout the 3,000 years since. Located in Ehime’s largest city, Matsuyama (松山市), 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 (坊っちゃん).
Once you’re done enjoying the hot springs, put on a Yukata robe (浴衣) and enjoy a scenic walk through this Onsen (温泉) town frozen in time thanks to its designation as an Important Cultural Property.
Scenic Cycle Routes
In just the two decades since its erection, Shimanami Kaido (しまなみ海道) 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 (瀬戸内海) starts in Imabari City (今治市), Ehime Prefecture and spans six islands all the way to Onomichi City (尾道市), Hiroshima Prefecture (広島県).
When cycling across the bridge, there’s definitely no shortage of sights to see as on each of the six islands (Mukojima (向島), Innoshima (因島), Ikuchijima (生口島), Omishima (大三島), Hakatashima (博多島) and Oshima (大島)) there are observation points and tourist attractions such as temples, shrines, museums, hot springs and parks!
With a 360 degree panoramic view stretching from the Seto Inland Sea to the Shikoku Mountains, the highland areas around Suiha Kogen (翠波高原) 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 (見奈良まつり) in mid-April and the Cosmos Festival (コスモスまつり) 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 (弓削神社) is a traditional shrine that can only be entered by crossing the taikobashi bridge (太鼓橋). 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!
Pop by our Japan Centre Stores at Panton Street, Westfield Stratford City, Shaftesbury Avenue or Japan Centre Ichiba, or simply shop online to view the range and bring a little bit of Ehime home with you!