Uwajima City [宇和島市]

Includes Uwajima City, Mima, Yoshida, and Tsushima.

Uwajima is one of the larger cities in southern Ehime with a population of about 86,000. It is surrounded by the beautiful scenery of the Uwakai sea and Onigajou mountain. Uwajima is famous for its fishing industry, pearls, mikans, bull-fighting, fertility shrine, and annual Gaiya Festival in July. Website: http://www.city.uwajima.ehime.jp/

Location/ Access/ Transport

  • Car: To/From Matsuyama – 2 hours on the expressway, but the tolls will add up.
  • Train: To/From Matsuyama – 1 hour 20 minutes by express train (2,950 yen)
  • Bus: To/From Matsuyama – 2 hours with buses leaving every hour (1,800 yen). Buses from Matsuyama will continue onto Ainan.

Tourism/ Festivals/ Highlights

  • Taga Jinja – very famous (and phallic!) fertility shrine and sex museum – prepare to be shocked! In addition to the shrine with the huge penis, there is a sex museum. Museum material is primarily older-style, such as ukiyo-e prints and aboriginal art. The museum has been described by some as “a dirty old man’s porn collection.”
  • Warei Shrine – large, beautiful shrine with a remarkable stone Torii gate at the entrance. There is a nice park with gardens in front of the shrine.
  • Gaiya Festival – 22nd-24th July every year. Modern and traditional dancing, amazing fireworks and Ushioni (demon-cow) parades. This is the largest event in Uwajima, and many come to take part in the festivities.
  • Uwajima Castle – what it lacks for in size, it makes up for in authenticity, beauty, and great views of the city. The castle is one of 12 in Japan that has not been reconstructed since the Edo period. The park is a good hanami spot in spring.
  • Bull Fights – held several times a year. They differ from Spanish-style bull fighting because there is no matador in the ring. The two bulls fight until one flees, marking it the loser. It is a rare practice in Japan, and an exciting event to watch.
  • Nanrakuen – a beautiful park is located in Tsushima. Certain festivals are held to celebrate seasonal blooms.
  • Date Museum – features many historically important objects tied to the history of the region and the Daimyo family Date, which ruled the region.

Dining Out

  • Korean
    • Janjaka Yaki-Niku – excellent Korean BBQ and other dishes – try the bibinba!
  • Chinese
    • China Stop
  • Italian
    • Grad – a small and intimate Italian style café located close to Kita Fuji
    • Ebisu –  good food (if a little pricey), wine nomihoudai for 2 hours for 1,500 yen
  • Indian
    • Arushi – located across from the Uwajima fire station
  • Cafés
    • Sucre D’Arigat – a stylish and cozy café with delicious western food and cakes. Try the ceaser salad and curry gratin
    • TAO – this café has great pizza, pasta, coffee, and cakes. Located in the shotengai
  • Japanese
    • Moco – a café and bar with great okonomiyaki and Hawaiian Loco Moco. The owners, Takashi and Miyuki, are very kind to ALTs, and host various events at their store
    • Miwa – an assortment of healthy and home-made dishes
    • Hachiku – this teishoku hole-in-the-wall is one of the best lunch options in town
    • Mushashi –  delicious yakiniku and friendly owners
    • Harajuku – okonomiyaki
    • Matsui – a hole-in-the-wall shop with great tempura
    • Raguman Ramen –  delicious and a wide variety of choices. Free fried rice at lunch!
    • Suginoko – fantastic oden place with very friendly owners
    • Gaiya Izakaya – fun atmosphere and great food
  • Family restaurants – many located in the Route 56 area



  • Kisaiya Hiroba – sells a number of Uwajima foods and souvenirs, as well as local produce. There is a food court and a bakery inside, and most city events are held here.
  • Shotengai – covered shopping arcade, 5 minutes right of the train station; has lots of quirky shops.


  • Ebisu Fuji – 5 minutes right of the station. Upstairs is a store called “Space,” which sells stickers, clothes, shoes, and stationary
  • Kita Fuji – this huge superstore sells everything – food, decent clothes, stationary, video games, bedding etc. There is also a travel agency inside
  • Sunshine – higher quality, higher prices
  • Shinbashi – Two locations
  • Marunaka – A large supermarket located south on Route 56


  • Edion – very large store next to Kita Fuji. Sells phones, computers, household goods, iPods, televisions and a variety of other appliances
  • Yamada Denki – located in the far south of Uwajima. Has a larger selection of cameras and video games than Edion, though not as many household items

Home Improvement

  • Daiki – home center store with everything you could possibly need.
  • Conan Home Store


  • Uniqlo – has good western-sized clothes at reasonable prices.


  • Uwajima Gym – training room (150 yen), gymnasium for basketball, volleyball, badminton, and table tennis
  • Ishimaru pool
  • Hiking – variety of trails leading into the mountains above the town. Recommended are Onigajo and Yakushidani
  • Rock Climbing/Bouldering Gym – garage conversion to a 24 hour, come as you please bouldering gym. Operates on a trust payment system, 100 yen per visit.
  • Taisoubeya – gymnastics, kickboxing, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and weight training gym. There is a 3000 yen membership fee and monthly fee of 3500 yen per month. The gym has weight equipment, a trampoline, and a foam pit
  • Onsen – Yasuragi no Sato (access bu car) and Haraikawa Onsen
  • Cycling – there are some great cycling routes in Uwajima and the surrounding areas. Inugai Bike shop (located behind the train station) has lots of helpful information and friendly guys who will invite you to bike with them
  • Sun Plaza – a community center that has many options for getting involved: Japanese calligraphy, tea ceremony, hula, weight lifting, exercise classes, and Eikaiwa


  • Karaoke
    • Voice – in the shotengai
    • Jungle – near the station, good for large groups
    • Maneki Neko – quite cheap and you can bring in your own food and drinks
  • Bars
    • Red Boots – about a block from the top of the shopping arcade. It features U.S. memorabilia and offers some decent food
    • Hvala – friendly sports bar with big TV screen showing various sports, especially football (or soccer)
    • Bar Premier – located on the 2F of a building across from the fire station
    • Bar Reverse – located off the shotengai

Mima Town [三間町]

Mima-cho is a small community known for growing rice, nestled in between the slightly larger towns of Kihoku, Yoshida and Uwa, on the west side of Ehime. The town has a population of about 6,500.

Location / Access / Transport

  • Train: To/From Uwajima – 15 minutes by local JR. The main stations in Mima are Muden and Iyo-Miyanoshita.

Tourism / Festivals / Highlights

  • 88 Temple Pilgrimage – two of the 88 temples are located in Mima: Ryukoji and Butsumokuji
  • Cosmos festival – takes place in November
  • Winter Illuminations – held at Nakayama Nature Park every year from the middle of December to the beginning of January. There are many different beautiful displays of lights. Access is by car only, 20 minutes from Uwajima (it`s worth the drive!)
  • You can rent bicycles at the Michi-no-Eki and ride around Mima

Dining Out

  • Several small coffee shops in the center of town
  • Michi-no-eki – the restaurant is open from 9:00-5:00 and serves a daily lunch buffet from 11:30-1:00 with lots of home-style dishes
  • Togyu – Korean BBQ (yakiniku) restaurant


Mima keeps your basics covered with an A Co-op supermarket and two liquor shops.


Yoshida Town [吉田町]

Yoshida is home to about 12,000 people, and is surrounded by mountains on one side, and water on the other.

Location / Access / Transport

  • Car: Yoshida is located half-way between Uwa and Uwajima on Route 56.
  • Train: express and local trains to/from Matsuyama stop at Iyo- Yoshida station. Hourly local service to/from Yawatahama.
  • Bus: extensive bus services to/from Uwajima, Johen, and also Matsuyama.

Tourism / Festivals / Highlights

  • Yoshida Park – a free animal park with rabbits, peacocks, and turtles and a long roller slide
  • Kuniyasu-no-Sato – a replica village from 200 years ago, encasing a selection of old tools, antique pottery and sea-faring artifacts
  • Hoketsutoge – looks out over the Yura peninsula, Hiburijima, Tojima and even Kyushu on a very clear day. The sunset over the Uwakai is famous
  • Annual combined elementary schools Halloween party!
  • Mikan Picking – Yoshida is known for mikan all over Japan. There are many different types of mikan and the best way to find out about them is to go picking for them yourself! Mikan is in season from about the middle of October to the middle of December

Dining Out

  • Kuniyasu – yakiniku restaurant near Tachima Station


Fuji Vesta supermarket on Route 56


  • Yoshida Fureai Koen – extensive offerings including indoor and outdoor pool with a waterslide! 150 yen per use, and requires indoor shoes. Gym can be rented to play volleyball, basketball, and badminton. Table tennis tables are also available to rent.

Tsushima Town [津島町]

Tsushima is a town with a population of about 13,000. It is famous for both pearl and fish farming.

Location / Access / Transport

  • Car: To/From Uwajima – 20 minutes
  • Bus: extensive bus service to/from Uwajima

Tourism / Festivals / Highlights

  • Ushioni Festival – demon cow festival held in November
  • Yasuragi-no-sato – an onsen as well as a michi-no-eki. The onsen is open from 10:00 am to 10:00 pm. There is also a restaurant and farmer’s market
  • Nanrakuen Park – plum blossoms from mid to late February, and sakura from late March to mid-April. There are many different festivals such as mochi pounding in January, a furin (Japanese wind chime) festival in June, and imotaki (potato hot pot) in September
  • Tsushima Play Land – go-kart track, tennis court, bird watching area
  • Shirauo Matsuri – people gather to eat small fish alive! A definite culinary adventure! Held at the end of January along the Iwamatsu River
  • Tsushima Summer Matsuri – August 16th and 17th. There are many different food stands, dances, and vendors, and a fireworks show on the second night

Dining Out

  • Je Taime – great buffet on Sunday morning and good food/cakes