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Updated : January 15, 2013

History and Culture

Maybe because of a mild climate and the fact that this area seldom suffers damage from typhoons, people in Ehime Prefecture are said to be gentle and easygoing, essentially satisfied with their life, and conservative.


History of Ehime

Historically, Ehime was known as "Iyo".

The province of Iyo was part of the cultural sphere of the Seto Inland Sea, and was generally regarded by the national government as a key location in terms of land and sea transport.

In the late 17th century, copper mining began at the Besshi copper mine, which laid the foundation for Ehime as an industrial urban area. In 1873, after the Meiji Restoration, the province of Iyo become Ehime Prefecture.

Since then, Ehime Prefecture has progressively evolved into a leading prefecture with a sophisticated industrial base.

Since the Old Stone Age to Ancient times


Since 10 thousand years ago, many people have been living at this prefecture with a mild climate.

Especially, Kamikuroiwa is a famous site where the world' oldest earthenware of 12 thousand years ago and the river cobble with a line engraved woman ("Megami ishi") were found. Ehime Prefecture has developed as a key junction of the important sea lane or the known as the Seto Inland Sea.
The Dogo Spa is known as the oldest spa in Japan and still a popular sightseeing spot. According ancient records, Prince Shotoku came to the Dogo Spa in 596.

Also, according to "Nihon Shoki" (Chronicles of Japan), Emperor Jomei, Emperor Saimei, Prince Nakano Oe (later Emperor Tenji), and Prince Oama (later Emperor Tenmu) came. Princess Nukata, an early Japanese woman poet, wrote a famous song following. At Nikitatsu, we have waited for the moon before boarding our boat; Now the tide is in at last-Come, let's get to rowing.

Middle and Feudal Age

The Murakami Pirates

The Seto Inland Sea has been important sea lane since older days and there groups of marine guards called "suigun" appeared and took an active role. Iyo was one of their bases. Especially, Kutsuna Suigun of the Southern and Northern Courts period and Murakami Suigun of the Age of Civil Wars are famous.

In Edo period, Iyo-no-kuni was cut up into eight fiefs or "han" (Iyo-happan). These were Saijo-han, Komatsu-han, Imabari-han, Matsuyama-han, Niiya-han, Ozu-han, Yoshida-han, and Uwajima-han. At that time, Ehime was known to be a learning-orientated. For example, Nakae Toju, father of Japanese Yomeigaku, served Ozu-han for a period of time.

Modern and contemporary ages

Uchiko Theater

Shiki Masaoka born in Matsuyama led the haiku innovation. He and his followers including Hekigoto Kato and kyoshi Takahama founded the literary journal "Hototogisu". Haiku was introduced to Europe and the United States in the beginning of the 20th century and now people in dozens of countries of the world compose haiku with their own language.
Souseki Natsume was one of Shiki's friends and wrote the novel "Botchan", which was set in Matsuyama. This novel was written based on his experience as an English teacher in Matsuyama. "Botchan" is viewed as one of his most important works.

This novel is still well-known today, and the word "Botchan" is associated with Matsuyama. Novelist and writer Kenzaburo Oe born in Uchiko Town won the 1994 Nobel Prize for literature. He is the second recipient of this prize in Japan after Yasunari Kawabata. For other than literature, an architect Kenzaburo Tange was born in Ehime Prefecture. He is one of the leading figure in Japanese architecture and designed Tokyo's City Hall.


Botchan Train

Ehime has been influenced by both the culture of Kyushu and the Kinki region since prehistoric times.

Due to Ehime's varied geography, its climate, culture, and industries are distinct from one area of the prefecture to another although, this distinction has been gradually decreasing.

Ehime's Special Foods

Ehime's Special Foods



Mandarin Oranges


The mandarin oranges cultivated in the terraced fields in the mild climate with low precipitation receive plenty of sunshine reflecting from the sea surface and boast the best production and quality.
There are many kinds of citrus fruit are cultivated such as mandarin oranges, Iyo-kan oranges, summer oranges, hassaku, navel oranges, ponkan, dekopon and so on.

Mandarin Orange Juice/Jelly

Various kinds of orange juice and jelly such as 100% mandarin orange juice, the limited area specific mandarin juice and jelly are available.

Natural Salt

Delicious salt with ocean flavor in which brine is adequately retained.
It contains abundant minerals and gives a good flavor to cooking, pickles, etc.

Bonito Flakes

The bonito flakes are called "Hana-gatsuo (Flower bonito)" because they are shaved like big petals.
They are popular because they are easy to use and the prices are reasonable.
Iyo city boasts the best production of bonito flakes in Japan.

Chestnut Products

The chestnuts produced in Iyo City (former Nakayama Town) are delicious and large; they are said to be the best in Japan.
Various kinds of sweets made from chestnuts are produced.

(Fried Fish Paste)


Jakoten is an oval deep-fried ground fish paste. It is made of eso, hotarujako, koguchi and jack mackerel.
It contains a lot of calcium and has a high nutritional value.

Kamaboko & Chikuwa
(Fish Paste Cake)


The kamaboko and chikuwa, which are made of fresh fish paste, give delicious flavors.
The beautiful color of kamaboko and the pleasant smell of chikuwa make them the best souvenirs for people who want food from the sea.