Shikokuchuo

Shikokuchuo City [四国中央市]

 Shikokuchuo consists of different municipalities that combined to become one city: Kawanoe, Mishima, Doi, and Shingu. The total population is around 92,000. Shikokuchuo sits on the eastern end of Ehime and is centrally located in relation to the rest of Shikoku, providing easy access to the other prefectures via car or train.

Website: https://www.city.shikokuchuo.ehime.jp/

Kawanoe [川之江]

Location / Access / Transport

  • Car: By car from Matsuyama or Takamatsu, take the Kawanoe-Mishima exit of the Matsuyama Expressway.
  • Bus: Both JR and Iyotetsu have bus service to the Kawanoe-Mishima Interchange for around 2300 yen (1.5 hours).
  • Train: To/From Matsuyama. There are regular trains (local and express) from Matsuyama to Iyo-Mishima and Kawanoe stations. The express from Matsuyama is about 1.5 hours, and twice that for local.

Tourism / Festivals / Highlights

  • Kawanoe Paper – Kawanoe is known for its paper mills and the tourist attractions include the Paper Museum where you can make paper and postcards and the Paper Technology Center where you can make traditional mizuhiki crafts. They’re both a lot of fun and great for 1- or 2-hour activities.
  • Paper Festival – In late July come celebrate the Paper Festival! There are loads of paper-related festival activities and a large dance in the evening with plenty of revelry.
  • Kawanoe also has its own unique Fall Festival complete with parades of giant and elaborately decorated taiko-dai.
  • Fuyu Youichi – In winter enjoy the Fuyu Youichi, an intimate festival and illumination in front of Aeon Mall.
  • Umenishiki – A large sake factory. You can tour and try lots of sake samples! They also manufacture three types of beer.
  • Shingu Tea Houses – Clustered around a traditional Japanese village, there are many shops performing both traditional and more modern tea ceremonies.

Dining Out

  • Italian
    • Amalfi - Italian food including good pizza. Does take out.
    • Formaggio - Another good pizza place
  • Mexican
    • Tranquilo Café - Open for lunch and dinner. It’s quite small (and popular!), so reservations for dinner are best. They do take out–and burritos!
    • Bunbukuchagama - Beef stew, reasonable prices, highly recommended!
  • Japanese
    • Shimazu – A relatively upscale sushi restaurant, near Hito Hospital.
    • Yuushokubouya - A delicious izakaya with a good atmosphere near Aoyama Suit Shop and K’s Denki.
    • Gorohachi - Izakaya with a great, intimate atmosphere and delicious food.
  • Cafes
    • Nico Café - A family-run affair near the station with a friendly atmosphere (the owner and her daughter are studying English) and absolutely delicious waffle desserts.
    • Kinari - A nice café near Mendori Elementary School.
    • Café Lamp - Café with a pleasant atmosphere near the Kagawa border. Specialties include kinoko and kuromitsu ice creams.

Shopping

Supermarkets

The major supermarkets in Kawanoe are Halows (open 24 hours), Fuji Grand, Marunaka, Aeon (cheaper), and Gyoumu Supermarket (has a small selection of imported foods, and is generally cheap).

Books, DVDs, Music, etc.

  • Tsutaya - Japan’s largest DVD/CD/manga rental chain. There is a second location inside the Kawanoe Fuji Grand.
  • Geo - Cheaper DVD rentals than Tsutaya. Located west of Kawanoe Station, on the road to Kanonji.
  • Book Market - A smaller used book store than the sprawling Book-off in Mishima, but with similar prices. Located next to Fuji Grand.
  • Haruya Books - Bookstore located next to Uniqlo on the road east from Time.

Miscellaneous

Aeon and Fuji Grand both contain a variety of shops including clothing stores, sports shops, and stationery stores. Aeon has a Nitori furniture shop. There are also Daisos near Aeon and in Fuji Grand, and a Seria next to Halows (all 100 yen shops). Kawanoe has a large used clothing/furniture/everything store located just north of Aeon. K’s Denki and Edion are both electronics stores, both located at the crossing of the Time and Aeon roads.

Leisure

  • Shikokuchuo Bowl - Bowling alley just south of the station and arcade.
  • Kawanoe Library and Community Center.
  • Fitta - A gym and fitness center located near Fuji Grand.
  • Mori To Kohan Park - Includes a lake and forested hills, along with a barbecue area and an car camping site. A great place to explore or unwind.
  • Kawanoe Castle -An interesting historical attraction with a small park attached.

Nightlife

Karaoke

  • Big Echo - Booth-style karaoke located near Fuji Grand. There are various cheaper (in both senses) karaoke rooms scattered around the city.

Bars

  • Minami - A bar that serves burgers and other foodstuffs late. They also have darts and karaoke!
  • Bar Luke - Located between Fuji Grand and Hito Hospital, is a spacious bar with darts and a nice atmosphere. No cover charge.

Mishima [三島]

Location / Access / Transport

  • Car: By car from Matsuyama or Takamatsu, take the Kawanoe-Mishima exit of the Matsuyama Expressway.
  • Bus: Both JR and Iyotetsu have bus service to the Kawanoe-Mishima Interchange for around 2300 yen (1.5 hours).
  • Train: To/From Matsuyama. There are regular trains (local and express) from Matsuyama to Iyo-Mishima and Kawanoe stations. The express from Matsuyama is about 1.5 hours, and twice that for local.

Tourism / Festivals / Highlights

  • Dance Festival - The Kamimba Dance Festival is held at Mishima Elementary School on July 23rd. Come cheer the dancers or join in the festival yourself! Don’t forget to try all the matsuri stall food, as well!
  • Fireworks Festival - The Mishima Fireworks Festival is held every year on August 25th. Stalls are set up all around Mishima Shrine and the marina. Fireworks are shot over the bay. Be sure to wear your yukata!
  • Mishima Fall Festival - Mishima has its own special version of the Fall Festival. As in other towns, giant, intricately damasked floats with taiko drums are paraded around town. Mishima’s taiko-dai are also fitted with a variety of electric lights for a decidedly modern (some people say garish) festival feel. However you feel about the Mishima-style tradition, it’s not to be missed!
  • Calligraphy Festival - The Calligraphy Festival is held yearly at the beginning of August and was featured in the recent film Shodo Girls. It is a live calligraphy competition that combines traditional calligraphy with an almost dance-like standing calligraphy form to see which team can produce the best work of art in the allotted time. The competitors perform barefoot in kimono. It`s really cool!

Dining Out

  • Plazas
    • Oishii Hiroba - There are a number of restaurants concentrated near the Fuji supermarket, including a spacious izakaya, an Okinawan place, and a ramen shop
  • Fusion
    • Evo Evo - Located just east of the City Hall, has delicious food, good atmosphere, and a great selection of imported beer. French/Italian/Japanese fusion, slightly expensive, but so worth it. Closed Mondays.
    • Essen - Almost next to Evo Evo, east of the City Hall. Euro-Japanese palette. The owner spent time in Switzerland, thus the name. A very nice, low-light atmosphere, and tastefully appointed. Great for small group gatherings!
  • Japanese
    • Darumaya - Located just west of City Hall. A nice, intimate shop with friendly staff and a smaller-scale izakaya atmosphere, including a counter.
    • Rococo – Just west of the City Hall and Darumaya. Another small-scale izakaya with a pleasant atmosphere.
    • Hego - Located just east of Iyo-Mishima station. An excellent izakaya with a great atmosphere, including an opulent backroom and a bar/counter on the first floor. Very good for large or intimate gatherings, but make a reservation on weekend nights.
    • Yamaguchi Sato no Mise - A wonderful little shop on Route 11, just across from Daiki. Very pleasant, light atmosphere with a view of a petite garden. The food is Japanese-style, delicious, and healthy! They serve a variety of rice bowls as well as courses and many individual dishes.
  • Taiwanese
    • Ajigen - A cheap Taiwanese restaurant located directly south of the city hall on Route 11 Bypass. Might be the cheapest restaurant in the city. The atmosphere isn’t much and the food sacrifices a little to keep the price low, but it’s still pretty good, and they have a great selection.
  • Chinese
    • Tsuge - A higher-class Chinese place. There’s a smaller menu, and the food caters a little more to the Japanese palette, but it’s pretty delicious, and the atmosphere is a little more refined than Ajigen.
  • Italian
    • Sitia - A nice little family-run Italian restaurant near Mishima Elementary and the station. Very small, but with decent pasta.
    • Kureyon - Italian restaurant near Mishima Station with awesome pizzas. Very small and a little faded, but don’t let the appearance fool you. Open only for lunch.
  • Cafes
    • Kura - Located just next to Halows, Kura has an intimate atmosphere and excellent coffee. They serve a variety of dishes, as well, including a fantastic bacon pizza and sandwiches. The official name is Kohi-gura (The Coffee Storehouse).

Shopping

Supermarkets

Mishima has a Fuji supermarket near the station, two Fresh Values, a Marunaka on Route 11 near EcoTown, and a Halows (24 hrs). Hit up the Cosmos or Mac drugstores for slightly cheaper snacks and drinks.

Books, DVDs, Music, etc.

  • Book-off/Off-House/Hard-Off (EcoTown) - Sprawling used goods store, with everything you can think of: books, manga, CDs, DVDs, computer hardware, digital devices, sound systems, clothing, accessories, furniture, and sports equipment.
  • Tsutaya - DVDs, CDs, and manga rentals. Near the City Hall.

Miscellaneous

The Fuji supermarket has a 100-yen store (Daiso) and a limited selection of cheap clothing. For hardware needs, go to Time (next to Route 11 Bypass) or Daiki (Route 11 in Sangawa, past EcoTown). There are a number of liquor shops in Mishima. Time’s has the most variety and probably the best value for imported liqueurs, as well as a few craft beers like Kona Ale. Takemoto Liquor near Mishima High School has a surprising selection of lower-end imported beers, including Samuel Adams.

Leisure

  • Mishima Library - Located near the City Hall.
  • Iyo-Mishima Undo Koen (Fitness Park) - Has a gymnasium for indoor sports as well as a baseball field, soccer pitch, track, and tennis courts.
  • Mishima Park (三島公園) - A lovely little multi-tiered park in the foothills south of the City Hall. There are open fields for sports as well as a playground, short hikes, and a great view of the city.
  • Hiking - There are several rarely-used maintenance roads going into the mountains at various points north of the expressway that are great for hikes. Have fun exploring them!
  • Gujo Observatory - Located on the way to Tomisato Dam; an excellent place to view the entire city, especially at night!

Nightlife

Karaoke

  • Manekineko - Booth-style karaoke located in Oishii Hiroba, near the Fuji supermarket. Manekineko has an especially large room on the second floor for big groups.
  • Chanson – A popular and cheaper (in both senses) alternative to Manekineko and Big Echo, located on Route 11 east of Gusto.

Bars

  • Odin - A small bar located at the western end of the Mishima arcade. Similar in style to Luke’s and many Matsuyama bars. 300 yen cover (for snacks), with average-priced drinks. Occasionally they have events or live music.
  • Manhattan – Another bar just off Mishima shopping arcade. A bit of a higher-class atmosphere, if a little faded. The prices here can be a little higher, including a cover charge for a bit of food. There’s a reason though—the owner is actually a world-class mixologist (seriously), and several of his personal concoctions are on the menu.

Doi Town [土居]

Location / Access / Transport

  • Car: The easiest way to get to and around Doi!
  • Train: Local trains stop at Iyo-Doi Station.

Tourism / Festivals / Highlights

  • Hiking – If you have a car, take any road south as far as you can and follow the giant blue arrows that are on Route 11 to find great hiking spots!
  • Bonsai Farm – Another blue arrow following adventure will take you up the Sekigawa River to a bonsai tree farm and further beyond that are some excellent swimming opportunities.
  • Fireworks Festival - Held on August 15th every year. Enjoy the show from afar or up close in the heart of the festival in front of Arena Doi and the Sekigawa River. A great time, but be careful if going by car. You’ll have to wait a while, park far away, or go very early. Iyo-Doi Station is relatively close.
  • Taiko Festival - The Fall Taiko Festival is a lot of fun. Giant, elaborate Taiko-dai (hand-carried floats) make the rounds all over the city. The atmosphere is infectious and invigorating!
  • Biking - The roads along the coast and through the fields from the western mountains to Mishima make for a pleasant bike ride.
  • Kiri no Mori – A fantastic day trip into Shingu! Nestled in the mountains alongside a river, Kiri no Mori is renowned for its special daifuku sweets and tea. The facilities are quite extensive and include a “chafé” where you can try various tea-infused drinks and delicacies (all delicious), a restaurant, and an onsen. You can also swim in the river in the summertime.
  • Tomisato Dam - A nature area located in the mountains behind Shikokuchuo. Go up for a pleasant drive and picnic lunch. Just next to the tunnel leading from Mishima, there is a great little waterfall.
  • Senryuuji – A temple located on Route 319 between the Kawanoe and Mishima tunnels to Shingu and the Tomisato area (closer to the Kawanoe side). There are a number of temple buildings and many, many steps on various paths leading up into the mountains.

Dining Out

  • Pub Fare
    • Syuki - Doi’s pub. The owners will do their best to accommodate you. It’s on Route 11, just west of the Co-op grocery store on the same side.
  • Japanese
    • Hiraku - A wonderful, extremely local yakiniku restaurant run by two adorable old ladies. Near the train tracks.
    • Tori-shin - Specializes in a variety of chicken dishes. Highly recommended.
  • Organic
    • Rina - Organic restaurant near the ocean.
  • Cafes
    • Café Sogno - A café with great panninis! Located west of Doi High School.

Leisure

  • Doi Library and Cultural Center.
  • Arena Doi - A large gym and fitness center with great facilities located alongside the Sekigawa River. There’s a swimming pool, onsen and machine gym inside, among other things. Arena also hosts many sporting events.
  • Orange Golf - A driving range located in the eastern section of Doi.

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