Ehime prefecture is situated in the northwest of Shikoku, one of the islands of Japan. Being so far south in the Japanese archipelago means that Ehime has a mild and welcoming climate all year round. Temperatures in the winter don’t tend to go below 5 degrees on average, and temperatures in the summer don’t often go above 30 either! This makes Ehime a pleasant and comfortable destination. Here are a few highlights of this beautiful prefecture.
Dogo Onsen is said to be the oldest hot spring in Japan! It is also said that for 3,000 years, the Dogo Onsen has been welcoming visitors into its natural waters. The main building is reminiscent of the bath house in Spirited Away by Miyazaki. Designated as an Important Cultural Property, the building has stood since 1894. With the Michelin Green Guide giving it three stars, this is truly a great place to visit. According to legends, royalty have bathed in these hot waters. In fact, there is a specially reserved bath for the Imperial Family! Many famous people have stayed here and even have their own untouched rooms. If you enjoy onsen and history then Dogo is definitely the place for you to go.
Of all the castles in Japan, Matsuyama castle is one of only 12 castles which have survived since being built before the Edo Period ended. Built in 1627, Matsuyama castle is another Important Cultural Property in Ehime prefecture. There are 21 buildings which are lavishly decorated and stunning to behold. You can get a magnificent view from the ropeway or chairlift and enter the donjon for a very small fee of 500 yen. You can also opt to skip the ropeway and just walk up towards it. Although parts of the castle were destroyed during World War II, it is like going back in time when you walk around the grounds. An excellent place to spend a day.
Ishite-ji temple is the 51st temple on the Shikoku 88 temple pilgrimage. Of the buildings here, 7 have been designated as National Treasures and Important Cultural properties. The temple houses several treasures within its buildings. On your approach to the temple, you will go through beautiful wooden fronted stores before entering the temple grounds. A pagoda along with several temple buildings lie within. Uniquely, one of the inner temples is connected to the grounds via a cave! This is truly a sight to behold and it is not surprising that these buildings and treasures are listed as important to humanity!
Ehime is a surprising and beautiful place to visit. Not only have people in the past created places to visit, the nature of this area is spectacular, surrounded by rugged mountains and beautiful seas.