Honai Town 保内町


Honai is a pretty little historic town with a population of about 10,000. It was once the textile capital of Shikoku, and it still has many beautiful historic buildings from its heyday.

Location / Access / Transport

  • Car: To/From Yawatahama. About 10 minutes from central Yawatahama. To/From Matsuyama. About 60 km along Route 56.
  • Train: The nearest train station is 10 minutes away by car/20 minutes by bike in Yawatahama (see Yawatahama Area Guide for more information).
  • Bus: To/From Yawatahama Station. A bus runs to the station about once an hour, but service usually stops around 6 pm, so be careful.
  • 20 minute bike ride to the train station in Yawatahama.


  • Honai Shopping Center. A grocery store with a Japanese sweet shop and bakery inside. A takoyaki vendor parks himself outside the shop every weekday. Open till 10 pm. Located on Route 197 next to the Daiki.
  • Kimura Supermarket. The smaller of Honai’s two grocery stores. Located on Route 249 near the Board of Education Office. Open till 8:30 pm.


  • Little Mermaid. Located opposite Kawanoishi High School.

Convenience stores

  • Lawson Plus. Look for the orange Lawson’s sign near the Daiki.
  • Circle K. There are two in Honai. One on the same road as Kawanoishi High School, the other is on the same road as the Honai Shopping Center.

100 Yen shop

  • Daiso. Down from the main intersection toward Joyfull.

Drug Stores

  • Sasaoka Drug. This drug store is hard to miss; it's bright yellow. Sasaoka is near the corner of 197 and 249 roughly across from the Police substation.
  • Cosmos. Located near the Joyfull.

Home Improvement

  • Daiki. Everything you’ll need for your house, including tools, kitchen utensils, toiletries, cleaning supplies, and electronics. They also have gardening supplies. Located next to the Lawson’s and Honai Shopping Center.

Dining Out

Family restaurants:

  • Joyfull. On the main road through Honai. Cheap, large-sized meals, free drink refills. Open until 1 am.


  • Somen Nagashi. Somen noodles in running ice water that you catch with your chopsticks, dip in sauce, and enjoy. A beautiful location in the Heike Valley. Open only in the summer months from June till September. There are several street signs that mark the way but basically just off the road out of Honai as you head north towards Nagahama.
  • Hokka Hokka Tei. Across from the Kawanoishi High School Circle K. HHT offers cheap takeout bento meals. Roughly across from the Circle K on 249.
  • Kanade. Yakitori restaurant right next to Season is Alive. Delicious do-it-yourself grilled chicken.
  • Gorilla-kun. Chanpon and ramen shop near Honai Bowl and the Pachinko Parlor, on route 197. Also serve up some good teishoku (set menu items).
  • Mori Mori. Excellent ramen and handmade udon. Talk to Saita, owner and all-around friendly guy.
  • Yamaki. Okonomiyaki and udon restaurant in front of the Honai Shopping Centre.
  • Gyuta. “The Fat Cow.” Popular yakiniku restaurant on the corner of 197 and 249.


  • Season is Alive (Nakai). A really good izakaya with friendly atmosphere and good food. On the main street through Honai (the 197.)


  • Glutton. Silly name, but good, mid-priced Italian-style cuisine.


  • ReStation. Local gym with membership for 8000yen/month to use between 8-10pm each night. Good gym, indoor swimming pool, sauna. ReStation is located on 197 just past the Daiso and the Docomo shop, on your left.
  • Honai Bowl. Includes an arcade and a karaoke joint downstairs. On route 197 across from the orange Lawson.
  • Kotohira. Park in Honai that’s especially nice around cherry blossom season!
  • Cultural things: Pottery, calligraphy, martial arts, tea ceremony, and taiko drumming. (These are classes that you would have to enrol in and go to regularly, not drop in events.) Let your RA or supervisor know what you are interested in and they can get you started.


  • Honai Bowl. Bowling and karaoke.
  • Walk around and look for some izakaya on the main street if you want to stay in the area. The bars and restaurants of Yawatahama are also just a short trip away!

Tourism / Festivals / Highlights

  • Mokkin Road. A must-see wooden boardwalk between Honai Junior High School and the river. Lined with brick buildings and dotted with personal boats, it’s quite nice and a lot of effort has been put into sculptures and lighting (pedestrians only on the wooden road, though – no bikes!)
  • The Hills of Honai. Many schools in Honai and Ikata organize hikes up the hills in the autumn and spring. They have beautiful views of the sunsets! Driving along past the main post office towards Misaki is lovely – especially in autumn when there are mikans everywhere!
  • Meiji Era Buildings. Wander past the boardwalk and find the old Meiji-era homes and buildings from when Honai was the silkworm and textile capital of Shikoku.
  • Fall Festival. Takes place at Mishima Shrine. It usually falls on a Saturday in late October/early November. Includes traditional performances such as Ushioni (Ox Demon), Itsu Shika (5 deer), and karashishi (taiko drumming and lion dance).

Yawatahama City 八幡浜市


Yawatahama is a port city, and is the hub of the surrounding coastal communities. It is home to about 41,000 people.

Website: http://www.city.yawatahama.ehime.jp

Location / Access / Transport

  • Car: Route 197
  • Train: To/From Ozu. 10 minutes by express train (1280); To/From Matsuyama. 40-50 minutes via express train (2390 yen) and 100 minutes by local train (1240 yen).
  • Bus: To/From Matsuyama. Bus runs to Matsuyama City Station (Shieki) (1530 yen); to/from Osaka and Kyoto. Overnight buses available (8000 yen one-way, 13000 round-trip); there are also buses to local cities such as Mikame (Seiyo) and Misaki (Ikata).
  • Ferry: Ferries to the resort town of Beppu (famous for its onsen, monkey park, and natural geysers) are available for as little as 3000 yen one-way. Routes to Usuki with its famous collection of stone Buddhas are also available.

There is an excellent travel agency in the train station. They specialize in domestic travel and can give you all the information you need about trains, planes, buses, ferries, and car rentals within Japan. They even have some English-speaking staff - ask for Emi!

Shopping Centers

  • Shotengai. The main shopping area is in the shotengai (商店街) or covered shopping street. To get to the shotengai from the station, turn left onto the main road as you come out of the station, and then go straight about 400 meters. The entrance to the shotengai is across from the Lawson’s. It has lots of small stores for groceries, gifts, electronics, crafts, clothing, and stationary. The shotengai consists of 2 perpendicular streets and is a good way to get to the city office and the sports center. Also, be sure to head to the shotengai every 8th of the month (time it right and the 8th is a weekend!) when they hold the monthly market.
  • Fuji Grand. There is a brand new, three-storey Fuji Grand located about a 2-minute drive from the ferry port. Inside, you’ll find a grocery store with a small section for foreign foods, Lady Drug (cosmetics), a bakery/café, Ed-On (electronics), Space (school supplies/character merchandise), Daiso (100-yen shop), a nice Japanese restaurant, an arcade, and stores for home goods, clothing, books, shoes, and more. You can also have passport photos made here in the booth on the third floor next to the parking lot.


  • Shoppers. Basic Japanese supermarket. There are two in Yawatahama - one near the shopping arcade and one about a 5-minute walk from the train station. Open until 9pm.
  • Fuji Grand. The largest grocery store in the area; has some hard to find delicacies like mozzarella cheese and taco shells. Located on the first floor of the Fuji Grand behind the bakery.
  • 100-Yen Shop Daiso. One is located on the second floor of Shoppers; there is another on the second floor of the Fuji Grand.


  • Book-Off. Located on the second floor of Shoppers; great for used Japanese books, movies, video games, and music.
  • Haruya. Off the road on the way to Ozu; also sells DVDs, music, and some really cool school supplies.
  • Fuji Grand. There is a bookstore located on the second floor of the Fuji Grand.

Home Improvement

  • Daiki. 100 meters behind the train station; also has a large plant selection.
  • Fuji Grand. There is a section of the second floor of the Fuji Grand that sells pillows, sheets, and other interior home goods.


  • Look for Lady Drug, Sasaoka Drug, Medico 21, and Cosmos around the city. They sell everything from snacks to cosmetics, grocery, alcohol, office supplies - it’s incredible!

Dining Out

Looking for a place to eat? Try checking out the different local restaurants in Shotengai!

Coffee Shops:

  • Wimpy. A small coffee-shop style restaurant just a five minute walk from the train station. Great pastas, lunch sets, pizzas, and desserts.
  • Pino Coda. A classy café on the outskirts of town. It has good coffee, excellent pastries and cakes and a good variety of lunch and dinner foods as well.

Family Restaurants

  • Joyfull. Every town has at least one of these ‘Western-style’ diners. In Yawatahama there are two: one in the neighborhood across from the station near Yawatahama High School, the other in Honai heading into Ikata. 8am till 1am.


  • Hanasyohachi. This restaurant is directly across the street from the station (it’s the brown building), it is amazingly delicious and rather inexpensive; a good place to try Yawatahama’s specialty: chanpon! (vegetable-heavy ramen)
  • Donto. A nice, modern-looking Japanese restaurant on the second floor of the Fuji Grand.
  • Minato. By the port. A nice little place run by and a nice older couple. Good friend shrimp and tasty tonkatsu (fried pork cutlet) set menus. It’s a small place but an awesome view of the port!
  • Iwachan. A yakiniku restaurant located up the street from the station, heading towards Uwa.
  • Nagayama. On 378 up the street from Fuji, this one is on the left and has a funny picture of a cow (a map of the delicious parts) outside. There’s another place across the street that’s good.
  • Mori Mori. A great ramen shop in Honai, located right behind Himegin Hall and near the Honai town office. Saita is the name of the owner there is nothing he likes more than a good chat with anyone who isn’t Japanese. In English, too!
  • Boshu. Tiny shop. Seats 4 at a counter and 4 at one table. Located in in a small alleyway called Yakusoku Dori off of the shotengai. Opens at 10 pm.


  • Lobos. Across from the Iyo bank in the vicinity of shotengai.


  • La Cuisine Uwasakai Tsukasa (ラ・キュイジーヌ宇和海 司) Classy place, pricey. 7th Floor of the Yawatahama Century Hotel. Good chanpon!


  • Kuimonya (くいもんや). A fabulous izakaya in the shotengai!
  • Tabemonoichiba (食べの市場) – the second best (but still very good) izakaya in the shotengai.

Fast Food

  • Various fast food options like Sukiya, Pizza Royal Hat (offers delivery), Hokka Hokka Tei, Hotto Motto (two of these), and of course the convenience stores (Circle K and Lawson on the main road past Fuji).


  • Sports Center. Located near the harbor. Swimming pool, gym, tennis/basketball courts, baseball field, aerobics, step, boxercise etc. To get there, go along the shōtengai, turn right when you see Lawsons. Go to the end of the shotengai. Turn left and walk around the city office and you’ll see the tennis courts in front of you. They offer various fitness classes like aerobics and yoga. There is a separate facility near Atago Mountain that offers training in various martial arts like kendo and judo.


  • Culture Center. Offers many classes such as pottery, painting, ikebana (Japanese flower arrangement), and Chinese. They also host cultural events like tea ceremony and English conversation classes. From the train station, go left, past Fuji, until you come to the post office. Turn left, go across the river and you’ll see it on the right.
  • Taisho-yuu. Indoor bath from circa 1920. It’s not an onsen, it’s a bath…and a hot one at that. Exit the shotengai on the Yawata Shrine side, keep going straight, second right, then on your right. Look for 大正湯 in light blue.
  • GET. An internet café located above the Docomo shop, across the road from Fuji. A nice environment, well-kept cubicles. An excellent place to go if you don’t have your computer or internet yet.
  • Yawatahama Public Library. Near the shotengai (Yawata Shrine side) across the street from the Community Center.


The majority of the nightlife in Yawatahama takes place in izakaya (Japanese-style pubs) and small snack bars.


  • R’s Bar. Super spacious. “An authentic bar” as the locals say. Good prices. Opens at 8 pm. Located just down the street about 30 meters and on the left from Hikari Pachinko.
  • Acoustic The Sting. A small live house where locals go the showcase their musical talent (or just hang out and have a drink) Located on the 2nd floor of Marumoto Building (above Wimpy).


  • Turf. Small but popular karaoke bar. It’s just off the Shotengai, near the big Iyo Bank and Lobos.
  • Big Box. A good karaoke bar just above the Docomo shop.
  • PePe. Located in the shotengai across from Kuimonya. Foreigner-friendly!

Tourism / Festivals / Highlights

  • Historic Buildings. See buildings from Japan’s Modern Period (circa 1910-1940) as well as Shikoku’s first bomb shelter built in 1941. Open for free tours. Across the street from Shirohama Elementary school and then up four blocks.
  • Kawanosu Hashira Shinji. A festival held in Kawanosu on the third Saturday of April at Tenman Jinja and the surrounding area. Men cut down a 22-meter pine tree at dawn, dress the tree, drag the truck around town, throw people in a river and then the ocean during the morning/day. Later they start hustling out the Ushi-oni (Ox Demon)! Not to mention Kagura (a sacred Shinto entertainment dance) from 6:30 pm to past midnight with a hair-raising, acrobatic, fiery finale.
  • Teya Teya Festival. A lively local festival in mid-August. The town parades through the streets to traditional Japanese music. This is part of the celebration of O-bon. Watch as the town’s population triples as relatives come flocking home for this once-a-year celebration.
  • Yawata-jinja. A Shinto shrine at the start of the Shotengai.
  • Hachiman-jinja. A shrine tucked in the area defined by the elbow of the Shotengai - quite nice.