Ehime – The Peaceful Prefecture of Japan
Have you ever heard about Ehime, guys? Maybe for some of you, this is the first time to hear the name Ehime. Few years ago, when a Japanese professor came to my country, and he said that he came from Ehime, I also had no idea, is it really in Japan? 500 kilometres from Tokyo? Wow, definitely, it must be countryside and I had no interest, it was what I thought at that time. I have never expected that I would really love to live in Ehime like now. Although Ehime is not a big metropolitan area, like Tokyo, Osaka or Kyoto, here you can find other interesting aspects of Japan. I call it the peaceful side of Japan.
Ehime is located on the smallest island of Japan, Shikoku island, more than 500 kilometres far from Tokyo. The biggest city in Ehime is Matsuyama. You will find the combination of modernity and tradition in this city. Here below, I will mention some popular tourist spots and items from Ehime prefecture. I hope you will fall in love with Ehime like I did. ^_^
1. Dogo Onsen (Dogo Hot Springs)
Dogo Onsen in Ehime is a very popular natural hot spring, not only in Japan but also for other countries such as China and Korea. There are so many tourists coming to this place every day. For some people, this is the first priority place to visit when they come to Ehime. Dogo Onsen is mentioned as the oldest natural hot spring in Japan, it was more than 1000 years old. Natural mineral contained in hot springs can make your body healthy and has a good smell. Just try it guys!
But if you don’t like to take a bath in a public place, don’t worry, you can enjoy the hot springs for foot only. This kind of place can be found easily around Dogo Onsen area. You can enjoy the hot spring while looking at the beautiful scenery of Dogo park (Dogo koen).
In Dogo area, you also can find the other popular spot, the Dogo clock, a beautiful big clock that rings every hour, and you can enjoy the history of Dogo Onsen by watching some doll performance. This is a popular spot for taking pictures.
2. Ehime Mikan
Ehime prefecture is a big and famous mikan (mandarin orange) producer in Japan. There are so many varieties of Ehime mikan, maybe more than 12 have been well-known. Ehime mikan, Haruka, Iyokan are some of most popular varieties. Just try it, guys…I like it. The taste is fabulous, well-balancing of sweetness, tartness and freshness. In addition, they also are easy to peel (so-called zipper skin) and seedless. You can eat a whole mikan in one bite. For Japanese, when they hear mikan, maybe they will directly think about Ehime. So, here you can easily find any mikan-related souvenir. Mikan juice, mikan cake, mikan sake and so on. We can say that mikan is one pride of Ehime prefecture.
Cultivation of mikan in Ehime has been done since 1900. The technology of quality improvement has been achieved by intensive research. As a result, Ehime boasts the top-class quality and highest production of mikan in Japan. I ever joined mikan harvesting as my part time job last year, it was interesting. The mikan garden is very large and the scenery is very beautiful. The harvesting time for mikan is September to January. In this season, you can buy easily mikan anywhere for cheap, in supermarkets, souvenir shops, vegetable shops and so on. But, there is one tip to get good mikan for a cheap price : you can go to a vegetable and fruit wholesaler. There, you can get one 10kg-box of mikan for only approximately 400 yen. So, don`t forget to eat mikan when you visit Ehime !
3. Matsuyama Castle
Photo : Yoshikazu TAKADA on Flickr
Matsuyama castle is another popular spot in Ehime. This castle is a flatland-mountain castle that was built in 1603 on Mount Katsuyama, which height is 132 meters, in Matsuyama city. But, do not worry, although this castle is located on mountain, you can go there by ropeway so you do not need to climb, guys! You only need pay around 300 yens for one way. You can enjoy the different beauty of the castle in every season. But I like the most to see this castle during sakura season, since you can enjoy the cherry blossoms along the way.
Photo : Yoshikazu TAKADA on Flickr
4. Matsuyama Park
In this park, you can find a beautiful European style building. On the top of this building you can enjoy a beautiful 360° viewing point from which all of Matsuyama can be seen. You can also see the amazing sunset from the window of this building. It also features playground facilities for children. Some people use this park as a place for taking pre-wedding picture due to its beautiful scenery.
Actually there are still many popular and interesting spots in Ehime, but I will continue next time, guys…be sure to visit Ehime and enjoy peaceful Japan there…
I am waiting….^_^