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Exploring Ehime and Kochi - Shikoku

Ferry from Yanai (Yamaguchi) to Matsuyama (Ehime, Shikoku)

In March 2016 I visited Shikoku with my family for the first time. You can take the car ferry from Yanai, Yamaguchi to Matsuyama, Ehime that takes about 2 hours.  If you take the car ferry remember to take all the car documents with you as they might ask to see them. 

Yanai port
On the car ferry
Yanai to Ehime
We first we visited Matsuyama castle, which is one of Japan's original castles. There are about 200 cherry blossoms, which makes it the perfect place to go in cherry blossom season. You can also try the cherry blossom flavoured ice cream, which is rather bizarre.  

Ehime Prefecture 

View from the castle
Cherry blossom flavoured ice cream

After visiting the castle we went to the famous Dogo Onsen (hotspring). There was one bath, but because it's really famous it was so crowded.

Kochi prefecture

Then we drove down south to Kochi prefecture. The drive was a memorable experience to say the least. We took the most direct route which were the mountain roads, not knowing what we were letting ourselves in for... The mountains roads were extremely narrow and for the most part we were driving with no barrier and a huge drop on our right. As the cars drive on the right it was a terrifying experience, one slip of the hand and you and the car could fall meters down the side of the hill. The whole journey we had every limb crossed that we didn't meet another vehicle because the last thing you want to do is have to reverse while on this treacherous mountain road. Thankfully we made to tell the tale. The road we took was route 441!
In the mountains

After a long and stressful journey we arrived at our destination- Shimanto river. This remote river is known as one of the "three clear flowing rivers in Japan".  It was a nice day so we went on a boat ride along the river. As we boarded the boat we had to take off our shoes because the boat is lined with Japanese tatami mats.There was a commentator on the boat who told us all about the river: the wildlife, fishing in the river and the thriving nori (seaweed) production industry . The water so clear that you can see some fish as well as the river bed. 
Things to keep in mind:

  • The boats depart every hour
  • The round trip is about 50mins
  • Be there 10 mins before departure 
  • It costs 2,000 yen

Boat ride

While on the boat you will go under many bridges. This one being the largest. In summer many people go there and jump off the bridge into the water.
Famous Shimanto Bridge

On our way back up to Ehime took route 51, which runs along the coast and stayed in a small Japanese style hotel and ate a lovely breakfast in the morning.
Breakfast at the ryokan

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