Ikata Town 伊方町

Description

Ikata is a small town at the base of the Sadamisaki Peninsula with about 10,000 residents. Ikata is the sister city to Red Wing, Minnesota and has a yearly exchange program that the Ikata CIR and ALTs help coordinate.

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


Location / Access / Transport

Car:

The two main routes into Ikata are:

  • Highway 56 to Highway 197 (runs from Matsuyama through Ozu and Yawatahama).
  • Route 378 (runs from Matsuyama along the Inland Sea – incredible views!).

You can also take the Matsuyama Expressway, but it requires tolls and does not save you much time.

Train:

The nearest train station is a 20-minute drive away in Yawatahama.

For JETs departing from Ikata: If your destination is in Ehime, it’s often cheaper and more convenient to just hop on one of our scenic highways and drive!

Bus:

  • The Iyotetsu Mitsukue line runs from all the way to Matsuyama (Shi-eki).

The bus times are too infrequent to replace owning a car for Ikata residents, but it’s a good way to get to Ikata for a visit, and it helps keep newly arrived JETs moving while they get their car situations sorted out.

Taxi

Places along the peninsula are too spread out for taxis to be cost-effective. Tag along with an Ikata JET if you want to explore! In the event of an emergency, taxis can be called at 089-422-0033.


Leisure

  • Onsen. Ikata is home to Kamegaike, a beautiful hot spring located about 15 minutes from Ikata proper. The onsen includes a sauna, a salt sauna (great for the skin!), hot and cold baths, several outdoor baths, massages, an aromatherapy room, a restaurant, and a shop with local produce and crafts. Website: http://www.kamegaike.com/
  • Gym. There is a gym located behind Ikata Junior High with a weight room, various courts, and a swimming pool that is open to the public. You can check out equipment for volleyball, badminton, basketball, and other sports at the front desk.
  • Library. The library in Ikata is located right across from the town office. Even if you don’t speak Japanese, it has a collection of DVDs including some films in English with Japanese subtitles that you can check out for free!
  • Eikaiwa. Ikata also has a very active English conversation group that regularly meets for dinner, drinking parties, mountain climbing, and other adventures!

Tourism / Festivals / Highlights

  • Kinahaya Ikata Matsuri. Last Sunday of July. A local festival with food vendors, stage shows, free sake sampling, and children’s sumo during the day before a big fireworks display at night. It all takes place around the Ikata Town Office or Ikata Middle School, both of which are only about 20 minutes by car (30 to 40 by bike/local bus) from Yawatahama.
  • Ikata Fall Festival. Held the third Sunday in October in the Minatoura-area. It features Ushi-oni (Ox Demon), Itsutsu Shika (five deer dancing), Karashishi (lion dance) and is held mostly on the Ikata Elementary School grounds (a stone’s throw from the town office).
  • Washi. Ikata Work in Kucho sells beautiful washi (Japanese paper) postcards, letterheads, and envelopes.
  • Ikata Nuclear Power Plant. The only nuclear power plant in all of Shikoku. Japanese and English tours are available.


Misaki Town 三崎町

Description

Misaki is a small port town of about 3,300 residents located at the end of the Sadamisaki Peninsula. Jutting out into the Seto Inland Sea, Misaki has fresh seafood, beautiful views, and ferry access to the island of Kyushu.


Location / Access / Transport

Car:

  • About a 45-minute drive from Ikata along the Melody Line.

Bus:

  • The Iyotetsu Mitsukue line runs from Misaki all the way to Matsuyama (Shi-eki).

Ferry:

  • Misaki is connected to the island of Kyushu by several ferry routes. The town of Saganoseki is about 70 minutes away, while the resort town of Beppu with its famous hot springs is a two-hour ride. There is free parking next to the port, or you can pay to bring your car with you on the ferry.

Dining Out

  • Marina. Seafood restaurant located on the main road through Misaki.
  • Café. There is a small café located right next to the port. It’s a great place to wait for your boat or sit and recharge – try their yakimeishi (fried rice)!
  • French Cuisine. For the prepared, there is an incredible French restaurant in the mountains of Misaki. The owners built a lovely and authentic French home for this restaurant/design company. -- Lunch or dinner is by reservation only. Call Shimauchi-san at 0894 541939 and try to speak to her in English! Ask Shimauchi-san for directions because it is quite difficult to find but only about a 20-minute walk from Misaki Middle School.

Tourism / Festivals / Highlights

  • Chorus. A chorus group meets in the Misaki Community Center and holds concerts at various times throughout the year.
  • Seto Inland Sea National Park. Visit the Misaki Lighthouse located in the center of the park for incredible views - on a clear day, you can see all the way to Kyushu! Campsites are also available from July through October.
  • Moon Beach and Amida Pond. Lovely places to take in the rural scenery, breathe in fresh air and maybe even help harvest potatoes. Located about a one hour walk from the Misaki Town Office.
  • Nattori. Famous for its blue stone walls.
  • The Ako Tree. Designated a National Natural Heritage site in 1921.
  • The Giant Camphor. Designated a Town Natural Heritage site; the tree has an estimated age of 1000 years.


Seto Town 瀬戸町

Description

Seto is a fishing town with approximately 2,000 residents located midway between Ikata and Misaki. Practice runs for Pearl Harbor were carried out here due to the similarities in geography.


Location / Access / Transport

Car:

  • 25 minute drive along the Melody Line from Ikata.

Bus:

  • There is a bus stop along the Melody Line past Seto, but no bus directly into the town. You will need a car or taxi for the last stretch.

Tourism / Festivals / Highlights

  • Singing Highway. Why is this stretch of 197 called the Melody Line? Drive over the tuned rumble strips that cover the road in front of the entrance to Seto and find out!
  • Fishing. Great fishing spots in Shionashi, Ashinaru and Oe.
  • Local Produce. You can find fresh produce at Seto Agricultural Park along the Melody Line.
  • Seto Windmill Park. Designated as a prefectural park.
  • Matsuri. Chirimen (“Baby Sardine”) Festival, Hana Yome (“Happy Wedding”) Fireworks Festival and Omatsuri festivals that date back hundreds of years take place in the Seto area.