Ehime Prefecture looks out over two seas—the tranquil Seto Inland Sea, dubbed the Mediterranean of the East, and the Uwakai Sea, through which the Kuroshio Current flows. Further inland, the Shikoku Mountains run east-west across the breadth of the prefecture, and are crowned by Mount Ishizuchi, which is the highest peak in Western Japan.
Lying off the coast of the prefecture, some 200 islands of varying size afford visitors the beauty of the many islands, as represented by the view from the Shimanami Kaido highway. The abundant natural environment here nurtures a diverse food culture, and the scenic beauty of the mountains and the sea fascinate visitors.
As host city of this ministerial meeting, Matsuyama CIty, known as “Town of Onsen, Castle and Literature”, has an abundance of cultural offerings. There are hot springs including Dogo Onsen, which is considered the oldest of all hot springs in Japan, and the city is also the birthplace of Masaoka Shiki, a poet who is credited with having established the foundations of modern haiku. In the middle of the city stands Matsuyama Castle, which has one of the country’s most valuable keep towers built during the Edo Period (1603-1868), and the areas around the castle still continue to maintain the culture of a traditional castle town. Befitting a town that has long welcomed many o-henro-san (pilgrims) who come for the famous Shikoku Pilgrimage, Matsuyama still exercises its time-honored spirit of hospitality.
Ehime, ideal for growing citrus
The coastal areas of Ehime Prefecture are an ideal environment for growing citrus fruits. As well as having excellent drainage, the terraced fields spread along the coast are exposed to sea breezes and bathed in brilliant sunlight.
Japan’s foremost aquaculture districts
The coastal area along the Uwakai Sea located in southwestern Ehime Prefecture boasts a thriving aquaculture industry. The waters off the endless sawtooth coastline are deep, meaning that fish pens can be installed at great depths. Farmed fish naturally grow quickly here in an environment where the waters are kept warm throughout the year by the Kuroshio Current flowing in from the Pacific Ocean.
Highly distinctive top-grade meat
There is also a thriving livestock industry in the mountainous areas of Ehime Prefecture, not least of which is the dairy farming sector on Shikoku Karst, one of three largest karst landforms in Japan.
Diverse agricultural products
Ehime Prefecture also produces the most kiwi fruit and hull-less barley in Japan. A wide variety of agricultural crops are produced here.
Fascinating tourist attractions
Built atop of Mount Katsuyama (132 meters above sea level), Matsuyama Castle continues to be adored by locals as a landmark rising above the center of the city.
Dogo Onsen Honkan:
The oldest hot spring in Japan
The Dogo Onsen hot spring is just a short tram trip from Matsuyama Castle. Said to date back 3,000 years, the history of the onsen is old even for Japan. Legend has it that the hot spring became popular among people following the story of an injured egret, which in mythical times flew to the hot spring flowing from the rocks, and soaked in the hot water every day until its leg healed completely and it was able to fly away.
Setouchi Shimanami Kaido:
A sacred place for cyclists recognized worldwide
The Setouchi Shimanami Kaido is a highway stretching about 60 km connecting Ehime Prefecture with Hiroshima Prefecture. Visitors are attracted to the contrast of the artificial beauty produced by the union of technology against the panoramic natural beauty of the many islands. A unique allure of the highway is its adjoining bicycle path. Come holidays, cyclists flock to the bikeway to pedal in the refreshing sea breeze.
Ehime Prefecture: A good place to work, a great place to live
Ehime ranks among the top prefectures in Japan in terms of indicators of work-life balance. For instance, the prefecture ranked second nationwide in terms of leisure time, and third in terms of brevity of time spent commuting to and from work (source: 2016 Survey on Time Use and Leisure Activities, Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications).
Access to Ehime
Access from major cities
Approx. 1 hour and 30 min by air from Tokyo
Approx. 1 hour by air from Osaka