Futami Town 双海町

Description

Futami is a small seaside town within Iyo City, and has a population of about 2,000.


Location / Access / Transport

  • By train: 45 minutes from Matsuyama, or 15 from Iyo. (trains are infrequent, so check the schedule and don’t get stranded!). Get off at Iyo-Kaminada station and make a right to go to the Seaside Park.

Shopping

  • There is a souvenir shop underneath the restaurant in the Seaside Park which also sells delicious ice cream cones.
  • There is one convenience store across from the Seaside Park.
  • There are various small stores selling food throughout the town (notably by Iyo-Kaminada station, although the selection is very limited and if you want anything fancy like cheese you’ll have to go to Iyo).
  • There is a small shop selling Bizenyaki (pottery from Bizen) if you take the road from the station past the Seaside Park.
  • At the Seaside Park you can get delicious jakoten (deep fried fish patties), fresh whole fish, and vegetables if you go at the right time. On nice days they also grill squid and prawns and sometimes offer tai rice (tai is a kind of fish), mountain-vegetable rice, homemade doughnuts and mochi, all of which I recommend.
  • During the summer there is also a food stand selling basic things like onigiri.
  • There is a liquor store on the main road, on the far end of town towards Iyo, near the signal.
  • There are two gas stations that I know of; one on the main road, on the far end of town towards Iyo, and one on the higher road (not the one along the sea leading to Kaminada station.

Dining Out

  • One restaurant in the Seaside Park offers expensive sashimi sets and limited basic meals (curry, udon, spaghetti). It closes some days. There are still signs here and there for restaurants that no longer exist.

Leisure

  • At the Seaside Park you can swim in the sea, relax on the beach, and watch the famous sunset (at your own risk). If you are an experienced paraglider, there is a course available in the fall.

Tourism / Festivals / Highlights

  • Seaside park
  • Train Platform Concert – there is a fabulous yearly concert at Shimonada station (one stop away from Kaminada), which is the station closest to the sea in all of Japan, with the sunset as a backdrop. (late summer)
  • The summer festival is not to be missed; if you sign up you can try to catch fish and octopi in the sea with your bare hands. There is also a bon odori (traditional dance through the streets; dress up in a yukata and join in. At night there are fireworks over the sea.
  • There is a firefly festival in the mountains during firefly season.
  • There is a very good dentist in Kaminada who can even read your foreign dentist’s handwriting. I am not aware of any doctors.


Hirota Village 広田村

Description

Hirota has a population of about 1,200 and is located within Tobe Town.


Location / Access / Transport

  • By bus: from Matsuyama – 1 hour – bus number 17 at Matsuyama City Station once daily.

Tourism / Festivals / Highlights

  • Hirota Firefly Festival – festival food and firefly watching in the countryside (June).
  • Market place selling various local grown vegetables, bakery and tofu products.
  • Various festivals or held that honor the Japanese long root potato.


Iyo City 伊予市

Description

Iyo is a sea-side city with a population of about 39,000. It includes the towns of Nakayama and Futami.

Website – http://www.city.iyo.ehime.jp


Location / Access / Transport

Iyo is located south-west of Matsuyama on the coast of Ehime.

  • By train: from JR Matsuyama – 20 minutes slow or express trains.
  • By train: from Shieki - You can also take the Iyotetsu private train on the Gunchu Line from Matsuyama’s Shieki Station to the Gunchu stop (it’s the last stop and it’s across the street from the JR Iyoshi station). The second to last stop is also Guncho something and it’s another good stop in Iyoshi, which puts you close to Iyo’s city centre.

Shopping

  • Masaki Emiful - Iyo's best known shopping area and the largest shopping mall in West Japan! Emiful boasts a host of foreign brand-name stores, a Fuji, a large sports store, an extensive food court (one resturant is buffet style with a chocolate fountain), a game center, and even a cinema. There is also a foreign food store and a place where you can take cooking classes! Emiful is also the one and only place in Ehime to have a Subway (the sandwich place, not the transportation). Get off at the Koizumi stop on the Iyotetsu Private railway.

Leisure

  • Shiosai Park sports complex – soccer, baseball fields, tennis courts, 1km race track, exercise stations, 2 huge playgrounds, gymnasium and a weight room with treadmills and bikes.

Tourism / Festivals / Highlights

  • Goshikihama Beach – lots of fun in summer! Swimming spot, fine sand, beach volleyball, fishing nearby.
  • Biwa (loquat fruit) Festival at the end of June in Karakawa, a mountain town about 6km from the town center.


Nakayama Town 中山町

Description

Nakayama is a small mountain town with a population of about 4,000.


Location / Access / Transport

  • By train: from Matsuyama – about 40 minutes by slow train.

Tourism / Festivals / Highlights

  • Summer festivals which feature the Nakayama Samba
  • Chestnut festival in September
  • Firefly festival in late spring/ early summer


Tobe Town 砥部町

Description

Tobe is the gate-way to the mountainous regions south-west of Matsuyama. The outlying town of Hirota is under the jurisdiction of Tobe. Tobe has a population of about 22,000.

Website – http://www.town.tobe.ehime.jp


Location / Access / Transport

  • By bus: from Matsuyama – about 30 minutes. Bus stop number 3 at Matsuyama City Station. Buses numbered 15, 17 and 18 stop in Tobe.

Tourism / Festivals / Highlights

  • Tobeyaki – a style of pottery unique to the area. There are several display shops where visitors not only purchase tobeyaki, but make it too.
  • Tobe Pottery Festival – held every 3rd Saturday and Sunday in April. Attracts over 100,000 people every year.
  • Tobe Zoo – one of the largest zoos in Japan, it’s home to a variety of animals from many different countries!
  • Plum festival in February – at the Nanoore Park, features plum trees in bloom and ume boshi products.
  • Kodomo No Shio Koen – the Ehime Children’s Playground.