Ainan Town 愛南町
Ainan is one large area made up of many smaller towns in the southern most section of Ehime (bordering Kochi), incorporating in 2004, the area now has a dwindling population of 27,466.
Location / Access / Transport
- By train: Unfortunately the Ehime train stops in Uwajima (just north) and the Kochi trains stop in Sukumo (just south).
- By bus: most buses from Matsuyama to Uwajima end up in Johen (express approx 3 and a half hours). Some buses from Uwajima continue through to Sukimo in Kochi, half an hour further on from Ainan. The buses in the area run fairly frequently but not very late.
- By car: If you do plan on traveling a lot I would suggest purchasing a car, as public transit will eventually overrun the cost of a vehicle. There is a Mom and Pop car dealer across from the Fuji that every JET gets their vehicle from. The woman speaks some English, they are really sweet people and will let you do payment plans.
- Fuji supermarket in Johen
- A-Max and the little clothing place next to A-Max (pink building) have anything worthwhile, otherwise go to Uwajima, Sukumo (Kochi), Nakamura (Kochi) or up to Matsuyama if you buying anything substantial.
- Chinese food: Pink Bamboo Blossom – pink free standing place in the car park near Joyfull.
- Korean BBQ: Chise – next door to the Aokuni Hotel. Big neon bull over the entry. 3,500yen for women, 4,000 yen for men gets you all the unlimited meat and drink (though seafood and vegetables are restricted)
- French patisserie: Je Taime has amazing cakes and a lovely upstairs eating area. On a corner opposite Sun Pearl and the bowling alley.
- Naniwa (Japanese style) near Misho Junior High School and Sunkus. Reasonable prices, nice atmosphere, Food’s fine, but variable.
- Hana Karuta (Japanese style) – up from Minami Uwa High School and Misho Bunka centre. Very nice izakaya type food, beer for 300yen and mixed drinks 450yen.
- Aoikuni Hotel buffet (summer only), costs about 2000-2500yen. Good selection and decent food, beer.
- Roppo – behind the Johen Community Centre. Great izakaya style and food. English menu available.
- Ranmante – hard to find Japanese restaurant back from the main street of Johen. Good food and reasonable prices.
- There is a good conveyor belt sushi place near the Misho police station
- DIY noodle shop just past A-Max on your right (when going towards Uwajima)
- This is the most promising aspect that this area and country life in general has to offer. Sure Ainan is an out of the way place but that is really its charm.
- There is great surfing just down route 56 in Kochi at Ooki Beach (Tosashimizu) and Irino Beach (Ogata)
- Camping at Irino is outstanding (go to the store/shelter to reserve a space).
- This area also offers whale-watching, deep sea fishing, surfing lessons, hiking around Cape Ashizuri, swimming/beach lounging, snorkeling, scuba diving (need PADI certification) and basically any other nature based activity you can think of.
- There are three onsens in Ainan alone: Yamadashi in Sozu, Yomimuri in Sunokawa and Akebono in Ipponmatsu.
- During Sakura (cherry blossom) season Amamori Yama in Johen (near Baseball stadium) has over 1000 mature cherry trees and lots of hiking rails.
- There is also the lookout tower in Misho if you want a birds-eye-view of the area. Near there is a waterpark garden, and a bowling alley at an event hall called Sun Pearl in misho.
- No movie theater clase by, but Abbey Road in Sukumo has cheap and plentiful DVDs, VHS, and video game rentals.
- Here is a great link to some of the attractions:
- Pretty non-existent, but you will eventually find yourself at a snack/hostess bar with a group of teachers at some point. The numbers have died down now, but Johen used to have more snack bars per capita than any other town/city in all of Japan. I am not sure which are the good and which are the bad ones as they are essentially all the same.
Tourism / Festivals / Highlights
- Festival for the dead, August/September Fukuura, Nishiumi, Dancing and singing
- Various autumn festivals in every town
- Spring – Fish festival where part of the beach is netted off, fish and seafood are planted in this area, and hundred of people barrel into the water with a net, hoping to catch anything!
- Hotels in Sunokawa and Ipponmatsu
- There is a wealth of hospitals and clinics in the area, as (I believe) to cater to the large population of seniors. As far as English speaking doctors, there are none that I know of. Big hospital in Misho (Minamiuwa Hospital), also hospitals in Johen and Ipponmatsu.
- You can access your foreign bank account at any post office in the area, but they close at 5pm. If you need to do a Furikomi (bank transfer) to your home account, or another, you have to do it before 3pm on a weekday; which means, after lunch ask your Kyoto-sensei if you can go to the bank. For your Japanese account, any JA works, but they all close at 5 or 6pm also. By the way, the ATM outside the yakuba (Ainan town office where you will meet the mayor) in Johen has an English button, supposedly you can do a furikomi from this machine but I never tried.