Occupying the northwest quarter of Shikoku Island, Ehime Prefecture enjoys stunning mountains to the south, and some beautiful islands in the Seto Inland Sea to the north, with a distinctly Mediterranean feel. Imagine bright blue waters stretching out towards the mainland, with the scent of citrus fruits hanging in the air, and a cool breeze coming in from the east. Now you’re in Ehime.
As if that weren’t enough reason to visit, the prefecture also houses over a quarter of the 88 temples which make up Shikoku island’s famous pilgrimage circuit. More historic claims to fame can be found in the capital city, Matsuyama, where the mountaintop castle offers stunning views out across the area, and one of Japan’s oldest onsen resorts.
The prefecture also enjoys a beautiful road and cycling route named Shimanami Kaido, which hops across six of the islands which form the archipelago, across to the mainland. Ehime Prefecture covers dozens of such islands, including Nakajima, which is packed with sunbathers during summer and produces huge amounts of incredibly sweet mikan (mandarin oranges).
If Mediterranean vibes and delicious oranges aren’t your thing, then you can also check out an island inhabited by thousands of feral cats (sure to overload the kawaii sensors of any cat lover) or head southward to Mt. Ishizuchi: one of the country’s seven holy mountains, and the highest peak in west Japan.