Ehime At A Glance


Location / Geography

Ehime is located in northwestern Shikoku facing the Seto Inland Sea. It is bordered by Kochi to the south and Tokushima and Kagawa to the east. Hiroshima is also very close by, only an hour and half ferry ride away! Some 3,000 islands in the Inland Sea stretching north toward Hiroshima are also under the juridstiction of Ehime prefecture. Most of Ehime is mountainous and contains Shikoku's highest peak, Mt. Ishizuchi at 1,982 meters (6,503 feet). The Sadamisaki Pennisula is also the narrowest pennisula in Japan.

The capital of Ehime is Matsuyama, which also happens to be the largest city on Shikoku. The bulk of Ehime's population is centered around the cities of Matsuyama, Uwajima, and Imabari with the rest spread across many small mountain and fishing villages. As a result, you'll often hear Ehime touted as one of the most inaka (or countryside) prefectures in Japan. Don't let that fool you, Ehime offers plenty of charm away from the big urban centers like Osaka and Tokyo.

Until the Meiji Restoration, Ehime was known as Iyo Province. Only the city of Iyo retains this name, but you'll find other references to the name "Iyo" in many of the local businesses (such as Iyo Bank). Due to the vast number of islands, the area was dominated by fishermen and sailors who played an important role in defending Japan against pirates. There is even a pirate musuem on the Omishima island in Imabari. Don't be surprised if some of your teachers claim they come from a family of priates!


Access

Ehime is connected to the rest of Japan in a number of ways. Please visit the Travel section for more detailed information.

  • By Plane: There is one airport in Ehime, and it is located in Matsuyama. ANA and JAL fly out of Matsuyama and service most major cities in Japan. There are also a few international flights that service Seoul, Korea. To get to the airport, you can take the Airport limosuine from Ozu or the local buses that leave from Matsuyama Shieki and JR stations.
  • By Train: There is no shinkansen in Ehime, but JR does operate a major train line south to north from Uwajima to Imabari, and west to east from Imabari, through Shikokuchuo, and on to either Okayama or Takamatsu in Kagawa. You can connect to the shinkansen line in Okayama. Smaller local and private train lines service most parts of Ehime.
  • By Bus: There are numerous local buses that service their various towns, as well as many long-distance buses that will take you to the rest of Shikoku or to mainland Honshu. Most long-distance buses leave from Uwajima, Matsuyama, or Imabari. Some buses will take you even as far as Tokyo!
  • By Ferry: Besides internal ferries that run between the various islands and cities of Ehime, there are long-distance ferries that connect to Hiroshima and Beppu/Oita on Kyushu. For a fee, you may even bring your car on board. Most ferries leave from Yawatahama, Misaki, Matsuyama, and Imabari.
  • By Car: There is a main highway connecting most of Ehime. To get to mainland Honshu you can take the Shimanami Kaido from Imabari (which will connect you to Hiroshima) or follow the highway east through Kagawa (to get to Okayama), or farther east through Tokushima (to get to Kobe/Osaka). Be aware there are toll charges though!

The Climate

Japan is a very weather-oriented country, with fashion, food and festivals greatly influenced by the coming and going of the seasons. In Ehime, the temperatures can vary greatly depending on what region you live in, but here’s a general guide….

  • Summer is hot, humid and sticky. Air conditioning is not often found in classrooms, but it’s in offices (and hopefully your apartment). At times, Ehime has been recorded as the hottest place in Japan. Temperatures can get up to the mid-thirties (Celsius) / nineties (Fahrenheit).
  • Autumn is beautiful. The air is crisp, but not too cool. The maple leaves are changing colour and the fall festivals are abundant. Unfortunately, fall also means typhoon season, which means it rains, a lot. When the rain stops, the cool weather starts to settle in.
  • Winter is mild and in general, there is only light snow in Ehime that melts upon touching the ground. That is except in the mountains – there are some areas that can have up to a meter of snow! Be warned, heating is hard to find in Ehime! (This means winter is so very cold!) Schools may not have heat in the classrooms and your apartment may have a space heater, but not central heating. Most buildings also lack insulation.
  • Spring is full of flowers, cherry blossoms and (again!) rain. The weather starts to warm up, and the rains come down. Days alternate between beautiful sunshine and down pours.
  • Rainy season is late spring, early summer (the Japanese will tell you they have five seasons). It rains – a lot! All day, for days on end! For those of you from dry places (like Australia) – expect to get wet.

Famous Food

You'll probably notice very quickly that every prefecture in Japan is known for some kind of special cuisne. In Ehime it is the mikan, or mandarin orange. Mikans are harvested in the fall months, so don't be surprised if you are gifted boxes of mikans by your teachers or local neighbors. Ehime is also famous for its POM Orange Juice (made from Mikans), which you will see in convenience stores across Japan. Mikans are the symbol of Ehime and are featured in the logos of the prefectural sports teams and, of course, your local AJET chapter.

In addition to mikans, another local favorite comes in the form of sweets. Namely Dogo rolls and Botchan dango (a kind of colored rice cake). Be sure you try them at least once.