Dogo Onsen is amazing at nigh

Ehime Prefecture Travel Guide: Things To Do In Northwest Shikoku

If you’re traveling in Japan and want to experience a lesser-known district with lots to offer, Ehime Prefecture is a great place to start. Located on the island of Shikoku, Ehime Prefecture is surrounded by nature and offers great views of the Inland Sea coast and the Seto Inland Sea National Park. With its preserved castles and ancient towns, Ehime Prefecture is rich in history and culture.

Dogo Onsen Spirited Away

One of the top destinations in Ehime is Matsuyama, the prefectural capital, which is best known for its castle and Dogo Onsen, one of Japan’s oldest hot springs. Dogo Onsen has attracted many residents, tourists, and pilgrims for over 3,000 years. Another popular attraction is the Shimanami Kaido, a cycling route across the Seto Inland Sea that consists of nine bridges connecting six islands between Ehime and Hiroshima over the sea, with a total length of 70 km. You can cross it on foot or by bicycle and enjoy the magnificent views of the sea and the islands.

Whether you’re a history buff, nature lover, or just looking for a unique cultural experience, Ehime Prefecture has something for everyone. With its stunningly beautiful areas to explore, Ehime is a must-visit destination for anyone traveling to Japan.

Getting There

Getting to Ehime Prefecture is relatively easy, with several transportation options available.

If you’re coming from Tokyo, the fastest way to get to Ehime is by taking a plane to Matsuyama Airport. Flights from Tokyo to Matsuyama typically take around 1.5 hours. From the airport, you can take a bus or a taxi to get to your destination.

If you prefer to travel by train, you can take the shinkansen from Tokyo to Okayama, and then transfer to the JR Yosan Line to get to Ehime’s capital city, Matsuyama. The journey takes around 3 hours and offers scenic views of the countryside.

If you’re already in Japan and want to explore other parts of the country before heading to Ehime, you can take advantage of Japan’s extensive railway network. The JR Yosan Line connects many of Ehime’s cities, including Uwajima, Yawatahama, Matsuyama, and Imabari. You can also take a ferry from Hiroshima to Matsuyama, which takes around 2.5 hours.

Once you’re in Ehime, getting around is easy thanks to the prefecture’s efficient public transportation system. Trains, buses, ferries, and private cars are all common modes of transportation. If you plan to do a lot of sightseeing, consider purchasing the “Iyotetsu One Day Pass,” which allows unlimited use of the Iyotetsu Railway and Bus Lines within Matsuyama City.

Top Attractions

If you’re planning a trip to Ehime Prefecture, there are plenty of attractions to keep you busy during your stay. Here are some of the top attractions to add to your itinerary:

Matsuyama Castle

One of the most famous landmarks in Ehime Prefecture is Matsuyama Castle, a beautiful hilltop fortress that offers stunning views of the surrounding area. The castle dates back to the 17th century and is one of the twelve original castles in Japan. Visitors can explore the castle grounds, climb to the top of the main tower, and take in the breathtaking scenery.

Dogo Onsen

If you’re looking for a relaxing and rejuvenating experience, be sure to visit Dogo Onsen, one of Japan’s oldest hot springs. The bathhouse is said to have inspired the setting for the animated film “Spirited Away” and offers a variety of indoor and outdoor baths for visitors to enjoy. The building itself is also a beautiful example of traditional Japanese architecture.

Shimanami Kaido

If you’re a cycling enthusiast, you won’t want to miss the Shimanami Kaido, a scenic cycling route that spans across the Seto Inland Sea. The route is over 70 kilometers long and takes riders across several islands and bridges, offering breathtaking views of the sea and surrounding landscape. Bike rentals and guided tours are available for those who want to experience the route.

Mt. Ishizuchi

For outdoor enthusiasts, Mt. Ishizuchi is a must-visit attraction. The mountain is the highest peak in western Japan and offers a challenging but rewarding climb for experienced hikers. The mountain is also considered a sacred site in Japanese mythology and is home to several shrines and temples.

Uwajima Castle

Another beautiful castle to visit in Ehime Prefecture is Uwajima Castle, a hilltop fortress that dates back to the 16th century. The castle offers stunning views of the surrounding area and is home to a museum that showcases the history of the castle and the surrounding region.

These are just a few of the top attractions to visit during your trip to Ehime Prefecture. With its rich history, stunning natural scenery, and unique cultural experiences, there’s something for everyone to enjoy in this beautiful part of Japan.

Local Cuisine

If you’re a foodie, Ehime Prefecture is a must-visit destination. The region is known for its fresh seafood, citrus fruits, and traditional dishes that have been enjoyed for centuries. Here are some of the local specialties you shouldn’t miss:

  • Tai-meshi: This is a simple yet delicious dish made with sea bream and rice. The fish is cooked with soy sauce and sake, then served on top of a bed of fluffy rice. It’s a popular lunch option in Ehime and can be found at many local restaurants.
  • Jakoten: This is a fish cake made from minced Jako fish. It’s a popular snack in Ehime and can be found at local markets and street vendors. Jakoten is often served with a sweet and savory sauce and is perfect for a quick bite on the go.
  • Imoni: This is a hearty soup made with taro root, meat, and vegetables. It’s a popular dish in the fall and is often enjoyed during festivals and gatherings with friends and family. Each region in Ehime has its own version of imoni, so be sure to try a few and compare!

Ehime is also known for its abundance of citrus fruits, including mikan and yuzu. You can find these fruits in everything from juices and desserts to savory dishes like grilled fish and salads. Be sure to try some of the local citrus products during your visit!

Lastly, if you’re a fan of sake, Ehime Prefecture is home to several breweries that produce high-quality sake. Some of the most popular brands include Imada Brewery and Ishizuchi Brewery. Be sure to take a tour and sample some of the local brews!


When planning your trip to Ehime Prefecture, it’s important to consider where you’ll be staying. Fortunately, there are plenty of accommodation options to choose from, ranging from budget-friendly hostels to luxurious resorts.

If you’re looking for a traditional Japanese experience, consider staying at a ryokan. These traditional inns often feature tatami-matted rooms, futons for sleeping, and communal baths. Some popular ryokans in Ehime include the Dogo Prince Hotel and the Matsuyama Tokyu REI Hotel.

If you’re on a budget, there are several hostels and guesthouses throughout the prefecture. These options are great for solo travelers or those looking to meet other travelers. Dormy Inn Matsuyama Natural Hot Spring and Guesthouse Miso Soup are both popular budget-friendly options.

For those seeking a more luxurious experience, there are several high-end hotels and resorts in Ehime. The Imabari Kokusai Hotel and the Hotel New Matsuyama are both popular choices for those seeking a more luxurious stay.

It’s important to note that availability and pricing can vary depending on the time of year, so be sure to book your accommodations in advance if you’re traveling during peak season.


Getting around Ehime Prefecture is easy thanks to its well-developed transportation system. The prefecture has a good network of trains, buses, and ferries that connect major cities and tourist destinations.

The most convenient way to explore Ehime is by train. The prefecture has several train lines, including the Yosan Line, which runs along the coast and connects major cities like Matsuyama, Imabari, and Uwajima. The trains are clean, punctual, and comfortable, making them a great way to travel around the prefecture.

If you’re planning to explore the countryside or smaller towns, buses are a good option. Ehime has an extensive bus network that covers most of the prefecture. The buses are affordable and convenient, and they often run on routes that are not covered by trains.

For those who want to explore the islands of the Seto Inland Sea, ferries are the way to go. Ehime has several ferry services that connect the mainland to the islands. The most famous of these is the Shimanami Kaido, a scenic route that connects the islands of Honshu and Shikoku via a series of bridges and ferries.

If you prefer to drive, renting a car is a good option. Ehime has several car rental companies that offer a range of vehicles at reasonable prices. However, keep in mind that driving in Japan can be challenging, especially if you’re not used to driving on the left side of the road.

Overall, transportation in Ehime is reliable, affordable, and convenient. Whether you’re traveling by train, bus, ferry, or car, you’ll have no trouble getting around and exploring all that this beautiful prefecture has to offer.

Useful Tips

When planning your trip to Ehime Prefecture, there are a few useful tips to keep in mind that can help make your experience more enjoyable:

  • Consider renting a car to explore the area at your own pace. Public transportation can be limited, and having a car can give you more flexibility to visit off-the-beaten-path destinations.
  • If you plan on visiting multiple attractions, consider getting a JR Pass. This pass allows unlimited travel on JR trains, buses, and ferries for a set period of time, and can save you money if you plan on taking multiple long-distance trips.
  • When visiting Dogo Onsen, be sure to bring a towel with you. While you can rent towels at the bathhouse, having your own can be more hygienic and convenient.
  • If you’re visiting in the summer, be prepared for hot and humid weather. Dress in light, breathable clothing and stay hydrated.
  • Be respectful of local customs and etiquette. For example, it’s considered impolite to walk around town in your yukata (traditional Japanese robe) outside of the onsen area.

By keeping these tips in mind, you can have a smoother and more enjoyable trip to Ehime Prefecture.