Mima Town 三間町

Description

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

  • By train: from Uwajima – 15mins by local JR. The main station in Mima is Muden (務田) & Iyo-Miyanoshita (伊予宮野下).
  • By car: 15mins from Uwajima station

Shopping

  • Small A Co-op supermarket
  • Two liquor shops

Dining Out

  • Several small coffee shops in the center of town
  • Tougyu – Korean BBQ restaurant
  • Michi-no-eki. Serves a daily lunch buffet with lots of home-style dishes. Buy a ticket from the machine for 850 yen.

Tourism / Festivals / Highlights

  • 88 Temple Pilgrimage. Two of the 88 temples are located in Mima.
  • Historic Mima. Walk around to find several interesting historical places
  • Winter Illumination. Mima holds an illumination ceremony in the park in winter.
  • Cosmos festival. Takes place in November.


Tsushima Town 津島町

Description

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


Location / Access / Transport

  • 20 minutes by car, south of Uwajima
  • Local buses run very frequently from Uwajima, taking around 30 minutes. No train line.

Dining Out

  • Je Taime café/restaurant, great buffet on Sunday morning and good food/cakes

Leisure

  • Yasuragi no Sato Onsen. Hot springs and pool.
  • Yamamoto Bokujou. Cute farm you can walk around and enjoy the animals and flowers.
  • Nanrakuen Park – beautiful park famous in the area. Nice for weekend walks.

Tourism / Festivals / Highlights

  • Small Ushioni Festival
  • Shirauo – People gather to eat small fish alive! A definite culinary adventure.


Uwajima City 宇和島市

Description

Uwajima is one of the larger cities in southern Ehime with a population of about 90,000. 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, sex shrine, and annual Gaiya Festival in July.

Website – http://www.city.uwajima.ehime.jp (Japanese)


Location / Access / Transport

Uwajima is south of Matsuyama, on the west coast of Shikoku.

  • By train: (to/from Matsuyama) – 1 hour 20 minutes by express (tokkyu) train; 2950 yen. The price varies depending on whether or not you purchase a Young Weekenders’ Card, which is recommended if you plan on traveling by train a lot.
  • By bus: (to/from Matsuyama) – 2 hour trip with buses leaving every hour; 1800 yen; buses from Matsuyama will continue on to Ainan.
  • By car: (to/from Matsuyama) – Under 2 hours on the expressway, but the tolls will add up.

Tourism / Festivals / Highlights

  • Taga Jinja – very famous (and phallic!) fertility shrine and museum – prepare to be shocked! Cross the bridge in front of Warei shrine and turn left. 5 mins walk. 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.” Entry fee is 800 yen if you dare...
  • 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. It is located behind the train station on Route 56.
  • 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 (1603-1868). The castle is visible on the hill in the middle of Uwajima. The interior has an array of pictures of other Japanese castles. The view of the surrounding area from the castle is lovely. Below the castle is a nice park for cherry blossom viewing in the Spring. There are two entrances to the castle, and the Northern entrance is well marked with signs. There is a parking lot next to the North (main) entrance.
  • Bull Fights - Uwajima holds bull fights several times a year. These tournaments differ from Spanish-style bull fighting, because there is no matador in the ring. The two bulls fight in a ring until one bull turns and flees, marking it the loser. It is a rare practice in Japan, and an exciting event to watch. The Bullfights take place at the Bull Ring on Maruyama, accessible by bus from the JR Uwajima Station.
  • Dandan Batake - These terraced fields are both scenic and ingenious. The terracing method was used to make the hillside arable, but noawdays it is often visited by tourists. There are festivals held here occasionally. (Access by car only)
  • Nanrakuen - This beautiful park is located in Tsushima. It makes for a lovely place to take a stroll amongst the flowers and scenery. Certain festivals are held to celebrate seasonal blooms. (Access by car only)
  • Tenshaen - This charming park is located in the city center of Uwajima. The traditional Japanese garden is a nice place to stroll, or just sit and take a break from it all. Occasionally, night illuminations are held at the park, so find a friend and take a stroll through the candle-lit park.
  • Date Museum - This museum features many historically important objects tied to the history of the region and the Daimyo family Date which ruled the region.

Markets

  • Kisaiya Hiroba: This is the “michi no eki” or marketplace in town. It 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 will be held here. To get there from the train station, walk towards the ocean down the main street.
  • Shotengai (shopping arcade, 5 minutes right of the train station) has lots of quirky shops:
    • Doux sells a range of gifts
    • Grand has western music and a wide range of video games
    • There is a good stationary shop near to Grand (same side).
    • Shinbashi supermarket has a great 100yen shop on the 4th floor.
    • Other shops sell various items – Japanese sweets, Kimono and accessories, hats etc.

Supermarkets

  • Ebisu Fuji. 5 minutes right of the station, on the coerner of Route 56 and Route 320, this is much smaller than Kita Fuji but sells similar things. Upstairs is a store called “Space,” which sells stickers, clothes, shoes, and stationary.
  • Kita Fuji. A bit of a walk north of the station, follow Route 56 towards Yoshida; this huge superstore sells everything – food, decent clothes, stationary, video games, bedding etc. There is a travel agency inside; good travel deals can occasionally be found there.
  • Sunshine. This grocery store is a bit higher quality, but also a bit more expensive. It’s near Higashi High School, and there is a 100yen shop upstairs.
  • Shinbashi. Two locations. One is located in a large department store next to the shotengai. The other is located on Route 56 going south.
  • Marunaka. A large supermarket located south on Route 56.

Electronics

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

100 yen shops

  • 100 yen store - 5 minutes right of the station around the corner on Route 56.

Home Improvement

  • Daiki - Home center store with everything you could need around the house. 2 locations: One is nearby Kita Fuji. The other is located south on Route 56.

Sports Stores

  • Winning Edge - Sportswear store selling decent selection of quality and inexpensive athletic ware, including footwear and swimwear. Located behind Kita Fuji.
  • There are also two other sports shops in the city- one on Route 56 before Sushiro (as you’re heading South) and another neighboring Higashi HS.

Clothing

  • Uniqlo - Located past RICH on the way to Tsushima; has good western-sized clothes at reasonable prices. Take a bus, drive, or cycle there.

Hair Salons

  • Oasis hair salon - Great place for a hair cut. Hidemi, the owner, speaks effective English. Near the main castle entrance.
  • Shimizu Hair Salon - Located next to City Hall and Hairdresser, Fumi speaks English.

Baking Goods

  • Baking Goods Store - A small shop near Toyoken in the warehouse/harbor district. Sells bulk cooking supplies like flower, paper plates, packaging, spices and others.

Dining Out

Kita Fuji Area:

  • McDonald’s.
  • KFC.
  • Mr. Donuts.
  • MOS Burger. Japanese-based burger joint; slightly higher quality than McD’s.
  • Ko-Hi Densetsu. Large selection of pastas, hamburger steaks and Italian-style pizza.
  • Donto. Good, inexpensive Japanese food. Great tonkatsu and chicken katsu.

City Center Area:

  • Gourmet Avenue. Located five minutes’ walk from the station. Features Donto, Shinatora Ramen (inexpensive ramen; open til midnight), and Janjaka Yaki-Niku (excellent Korean BBQ and other dishes – try the bibinba!)
  • Chinese:
    • China Stop. Chinese restaurant across from McDonald’s, behind Bookland.
  • Italian:
    • Grad. A small and intimate Italian style café located up the road to Hachiku, close to city hall.
  • Café
    • Café Sucre D’Arigat. A stylish and cozy café with delicious western food and cakes. Try the ceaser salad and curry gratin. Located under the freeway, close to the AU Cellphone store.
    • Café- TAO. This café has great pizza, pasta, coffee, and cakes. It is located in the Shotengai.
  • Japanese
    • Toyoken. Conveyor belt sushi and yaki-niku (under the overpass). Great food and 100 yen beer on Friday nights.
    • Sushiemon. A newly opened (Spring 2014) conveyor belt sushi restaurant located right at the port, near Kisaiya Hiroba.
    • Moco. This café and bar has great okonomiyaki and Hawaiian Loco Moco. The owners, Takashi and Miyuki, are very kind to ALTs, and host monthly events at their store.
    • Miwa. This tofu house has an assortment of healthy and home-made dishes. Located next door to the Shinbashi department store.
    • Hachiku. Located nearby the city hall, this teishoku hole-in-the-wall is one of the best lunch options in town.
    • Mushashi. Delicious yakiniku and friendly owners, located nearby Higashi High School.
    • Harajuku. Fantastic okonomiyaki near Ebisu Fuji and the shotengai.
    • Matsui. Hole-in-the-wall shop with great Tempura. Located close to Jungle Karaoke.
    • Daisuke Udon. All you can eat udon for 350 yen! One location is next to the City hall, another is along route 56 close to Joto Junior high school.
    • Raguman Ramen. Delicious ramen with a wide variety of choices. At lunch they serve free fried rice. Located near the city hall.
  • Pizza:
    • Royal Hat Pizza. Wide variety of Japanese-style pizza. Delivery only. (Uwajima only)
  • Izakaya:
    • Gaiya Izakaya. Fun atmosphere and great food, located near the Sunkus Conbini near the Shotengai.

Route 56 Area:

  • Family Restaurant:
    • Gusto. Fast food at a reasonable price. Located on Route 56 towards Tsuhima.
    • Joyfull. (x2) Cheap fast food; both on Route 56 towards Tsuhima.
  • Japanese:
    • Sushi Ro. Cheap conveyor belt sushi (Route 56 towards Tsuhima). Very popular, expect a small wait.
    • Marugame Udon. Newly built in 2013, good udon and a popular lunch spot.
    • Sukiya. Fast food curry and beef bowl gyudon shop. Cheap and fast. Cycle south past Sushiro for about five minutes and it will be on your left.

Leisure

  • Hiking. Variety of trails leading into the mountains above the town. Onigajo Mountain – The trailhead to this hike starts near the Uwajima Youth Hostel. Search for the Youth Hostel to find the entrance to the trail. There is also hiking in Yakushidani- beautiful waterfalls and mountain trails that connect all the way to Nametoko in Matsuno. To get to Yakushidani, head South on Route 56, then turn left at the Yatsushidani sign (a bit further south on Route 56 past Sushiro).
  • Rock Climbing/Bouldering Gym. A house behind the Pachinko parlor on 56 before you get to Sushiro (again, heading South) who’s garage has been converted into 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. The owner, Ninomiya Kosuke, is very nice and tries to speak some English. Talk to him to start your membership! Located near Suisan HS.
  • Fishing. Fish for sea bream, squid, octopus, mackerel, sardines and others at various locations around town.
  • Yasuragi no Sato. Nice onsen in Tsushima, located just at the end of the freeway. There is a pool and a restaurant inside as well. (access by car)
  • Ooishi Yu. Local sento bathhouse in Uwajima. Run by a lovely family, and located in Uwatsu-cho.
  • Cycling- in Uwajima and the surrounding areas, there are great cycling routes. 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. It is located near Maruyama and Warei Elementary school.
  • Maruyama Sporting Facilities. In the past, JETs have been involved with Japanese archery, martial arts, and other activities in this area.

Nightlife

  • Karaoke:
    • Voice in the Shotengai.
    • Jungle near the station is good for large groups.
    • MAX is next door to “Horumon Mura” restaurant. Not far from Uwajima fire station.
    • Maneki Neko is located above Circle K in the Warei District. Close to Johoku JHS. Quite cheap and you can bring in your own food and drinks.
  • Bars:
    • ‘Red Boots” is 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 English soccer), opposite the bus center.
    • There are plenty of other good bars around, but beware of the ubiquitous hostess bars (usually very small with dodgy names and neon signs) who will charge you a small fortune just for sitting down!

Accommodations

  • Uwajima Oriental Hotel TEL: 0895-23-2828
  • Kiya Ryokan TEL: 0895-22-0101. www.Kiyaryokan.com/top_en
  • Uwajima Hotel Clement TEL: 0895-23-6111. http://www.jrhotelgroup.com/eng/hotel/eng144.htm
  • Uwajima Kokusai Hotel TEL: 0895-25-0111. http://www.shikoku.ne.jp/hotel/kokusai/
  • Hotel Shirakabe TEL: 0895-22-3585. http://www3.netwave.or.jp/~sirakabe/infomation.htm
  • Uwajima Youth Hostel TEL: 0895-22-7177. http://www2.odn.ne.jp/~cfm91130/eigo.htm


Yoshida Town 吉田町

Description

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

Location / Access / Transport

Yoshida is located half-way between Uwa and Uwajima on Route 56.

  • By train: twice daily limited express train from/to Matsuyama; hourly local train service from/to Yawatahama
  • By bus: extensive bus service from/to Uwajima and Johen, and also from/to Matsuyama.
  • The Overnight bus from/to Osaka also stops in Yoshida.

Shopping

  • Fuji Grand on Route 56; supermarket; clothing/stationary shops; small electronics store; French bakery; fresh fruit/vegetable stalls; Mini DIK (hardware); Bobson denim factory outlet

Dining Out

  • Tandoor – excellent Indian cuisine, world famous in southern Ehime. Located between Yoshida and Uwa.
  • Chinese restaurant that serves an excellent stir-fry of mixed Asian greens and pretty decent ramen
  • Udon
  • Italian (that serves Japanese style Italian food, mainly spaghetti)

Leisure

  • Extensive sports centre including indoor and outdoor pool with a waterslide

Nightlife

  • Small karaoke corner and apparently a pretty good pub on the main street

Tourism / Festivals / Highlights

  • Stunning scenery, mikan mountains and Yoshida Bay make for a pretty awesome bike around and out of town
  • The Old Town – a small village with houses set up as they were in the olden days (like an interactive museum encasing a selection of old tools, antique pottery and old sea faring artifacts)
  • Annual combined elementary schools Halloween party is yet to be rivaled with a record 525 students attending in 2006!