The Essential 4 Day Ehime Itinerary: Cycling, Onsen and More!

This service includes sponsored advertisements.
article thumbnail image

Ehime Prefecture is full of tourist attractions where you can enjoy views and experiences like no other, such as the Shimanami Kaido, Dogo Onsen, Matsuyama Castle, and Ozu! In this article, we will introduce a model route for 4 days and 3 nights that will allow you to enjoy the charms of Ehime Prefe...

Latest update :

Ehime Prefecture's charm is its great nature and history and culture

Ehime Prefecture, located in Shikoku , is known for its beautiful location overlooking the Seto Inland Sea and its rich history and culture. The climate is warm throughout the year, so you can travel in any season.

In particular, the Shimanami Kaido, which connects Imabari City, Ehime Prefecture, and Onomichi City, Hiroshima Prefecture, is a scenic route that offers views of the beautiful islands between the gentle waves. It is known around the world as a sacred place for cyclists.

Picture courtesy of Matsuyama City, Industry and Economics Department, Tourism and International Exchange Division<br>
Picture courtesy of Matsuyama City, Industry and Economics Department, Tourism and International Exchange Division

Ehime has a long history and a unique culture that is even mentioned in Japan's oldest history book, the Kojiki.

It is also attractive to be able to experience old Japan, such as Dogo Onsen, which is said to be Japan's oldest hot spring, and Ozu, which once flourished as a castle town.

In this article, for readers who are traveling to Ehime for the first time, we will introduce access and a model route for 3 nights and 4 days visiting recommended tourist spots. We also feature plenty of spots recommended by locals and writers who have traveled there!

[Reference article]

Ehime Prefecture tourist guide—Matsuyama, Dogo Onsen, Imabari, and remote island spots

Three main ways to go to Ehime

Imabari Station Photo by Pixta<br>
Imabari Station Photo by Pixta

If you are heading to Ehime from the Tokyo area, you can access it by train or plane. For convenient access to various areas, choose Matsuyama Station or Imabari Station by train, or Matsuyama Airport by plane.

Here, we will introduce three access methods for each stopover point.

Railway: Via Hiroshima, bound for Shimanami Kaido/Imabari

If you are heading from Tokyo to Ehime via Hiroshima, first take the Shinkansen to Fukuyama Station. The journey takes approximately 3 hours and 30 minutes.

If you transfer from Fukuyama Station to the express bus "Shimanami Liner", you will arrive at Imabari Station (Ehime) in about an hour and a half. Also, with the Shimanami Liner, you can stop at islands along the Shimanami Kaido , such as Setoda and Omishima.

Railway: Via Kagawa, bound for Imabari/Matsuyama

There is also a way to go from Tokyo to Ehime via Kagawa. Get off the Shinkansen at Okayama Station and transfer to the JR Yosan Line Limited Express Shiokaze. It takes about 2 hours from Okayama Station to Imabari Station, and about 2 hours and 45 minutes from Matsuyama Station.

This route is recommended if you want to tour not only Ehime Prefecture but also Shikoku .

Airplane: To Matsuyama Airport

Ehime Prefecture is home to Matsuyama Airport, which has direct flights from nine locations across Japan, including Tokyo's Haneda Airport and Narita Airport, as well as Itami Airport (Osaka) and Fukuoka Airport (Fukuoka).

It takes about 1 hour and 20 minutes from Haneda Airport to Matsuyama Airport. Matsuyama City, where Dogo Onsen is located, is easily accessible, taking about 20 to 30 minutes by car.

Jetstar, an LCC, operates from Tokyo's Narita Airport, and is cheaper than the Shinkansen. Recommended if you want to go to Matsuyama area .

Check out Japan Rail Pass, a great value free pass!

If you are a tourist visiting Japan, you can also use the advantageous free pass " Japan Rail Pass ".

This is an excellent service that allows you to use unlimited rides on trains and route buses throughout Japan operated by JR.

Prices vary depending on the combination of travel days (7 days, 14 days, 21 days) and type of Shinkansen vehicle (regular car, green car). If you choose a regular car for 7 days, the fee is 50,000 yen for one adult.

A model route for 4 days and 3 nights visiting the main spots in Ehime

From here, I will specifically introduce a 3-night, 4-day trip plan. The four destinations are Shimanami Kaido, Dogo Onsen, Matsuyama, and Ozu.

If you are heading from Tokyo, we especially recommend the route via Hiroshima. Here, we will introduce a model route that goes from Shimanami Kaido to Dogo Onsen/Matsuyama to Ozu, assuming that you are going via Onomichi in Hiroshima Prefecture.

[Day 1-2] To Shimanami Kaido (Tokyo → Onomichi approximately 4 hours)

Our first destination, the Shimanami Kaido, is a 60km long road that connects Onomichi City, Hiroshima Prefecture and Imabari City, Ehime Prefecture. Seven suspension bridges connect six islands in the Seto Inland Sea.

Enjoy the Shimanami Kaido by bicycle and boat

Picture courtesy of Ehime Prefecture Tourism and Products Association<br>
Picture courtesy of Ehime Prefecture Tourism and Products Association

The Shimanami Kaido has a bicycle-only road, which is rare in Japan. Cycling while admiring the beauty of the Seto Inland Sea archipelago is an experience that can only be enjoyed here.

"The Shimanami Kaido is approximately 60km long. You don't have to cycle all of it. There are ferries that you can ride along with your bicycle, and we also recommend admiring the beautiful suspension bridges from the sea.

The Seto Inland Sea is attractive not only for its spectacular views but also for its exquisite seafood. This article introduces hotels that are popular for their location and delicious food, as well as cruise tours that allow you to enjoy the area around the Shimanami Kaido.

[Click here for cruise/E-Bike tours]

Setouchi Shimanami Reading

[Recommended accommodation spots]

Full of charm of remote islands in Setouchi! "GLAMPROOK Shimanami" accommodation report (hotel building)

[Staying in Imabari Yunoura, Ehime Prefecture] “Shionomaru” is an inn where you can enjoy seafood dishes from the Setouchi Inland Sea.

[Day 2-3] Matsuyama, Dogo Onsen (Imabari → Matsuyama approximately 35 minutes)

Picture courtesy of Matsuyama City, Industry and Economics Department, Tourism and International Exchange Division<br>
Picture courtesy of Matsuyama City, Industry and Economics Department, Tourism and International Exchange Division

On the second day, we will aim for Matsuyama, where Dogo Onsen is located.

From Imabari, the last stop on the Shimanami Kaido, to Matsuyama, it takes about 35 minutes on the JR Yosan Line's ``Limited Express Shiokaze''. It takes about 25 minutes to get to Dogo Onsen by changing to a conventional line from Matsuyama.

Stroll around Matsuyama

Picture courtesy of Matsuyama City, Industry and Economics Department, Tourism and International Exchange Division<br>
Picture courtesy of Matsuyama City, Industry and Economics Department, Tourism and International Exchange Division

Matsuyama Castle towers over Mt. Katsuyama at an altitude of 132 meters in the center of Matsuyama City. The area between Gintengai and Okaido in the castle town is now a lively spot filled with bars and restaurants.

Check out popular ramen restaurants that are open until late at night!

[Reference article]

[Matsuyama City | Around Ginten-gai/Okaido] 3 Ramen Restaurants Open Until Late Night

Enjoy Dogo Onsen Honkan and the hot spring town

Dogo Onsen is said to have a history of about 3,000 years, and is home to many retro and beautiful hot spring inns and public baths. Dogo Onsen Honkan, a public bathhouse that is said to be one of the models for the Aburaya in the popular animated movie Spirited Away, is a must-see!

There are also many popular inns with hot springs in the surrounding area.

For more details, check out this article.

[Reference article]

Model for ``Spirited Away.'' Immerse yourself in the mysterious atmosphere of Dogo Onsen Honkan

[Recommended accommodation spots]

[Matsuyama City, Ehime Prefecture, Okudogo] Enjoy the scenery of the four seasons in one of the largest open-air baths in western Japan, "Okudogo Ichiyu no Mamoru"

Yosan Line, to Shimonada Station with a spectacular view

If you have time, be sure to visit Shimonada Station, a scenic spot that has recently become a hot topic. It is about an hour away from Matsuyama Station on the JR Yosan Line.

It is popular for its location with a spectacular view of the ocean right in front of the platform, and many people come just to take photos.

For more information on Ehime's scenic spots, please see this article.

[Reference article]

That station that was the setting for the movie! 3 Recommended Railway Photo Spots in Shikoku

[3rd to 4th day] To Ozu (Matsuyama → Ozu approximately 35 minutes)

Approximately 35 minutes by JR Yosan Line Limited Express from Matsuyama Station. Ozu, located in the south of Ehime Prefecture, once flourished as a castle town.

Buildings from the good old days have been preserved and are now used as inns, restaurants, shops, etc., so that the remnants of that time remain in modern times. Just walking around the city will make you feel as if you have traveled back in time.

Stay at “NIPPONIA HOTEL Ozu Castle Town”

One of the most attractive places in Ozu is NIPPONIA HOTEL Ozu Castle Town.

``NIPPONIA HOTEL Ozu Castle Town'' is a ``distributed hotel'' where the castle town itself is a hotel. There are 31 guest rooms in 26 buildings, including buildings that were originally residences of feudal lords and wealthy merchants, merchant houses selling alcohol and tea, and storehouses, and by staying the night you can fully experience the charm of its history.

Furthermore, there are many things to see, such as gourmet food packed with local ingredients, a historic townscape, and a spectacular sea of ​​clouds.

[Reference article]

Highlights of Ozu City

NIPPONIA HOTEL Ozu Castle Town Vacancy Search

How to return to Tokyo from Ozu?

Picture courtesy of Matsuyama City, Industry and Economics Department, Tourism and International Exchange Division<br>
Picture courtesy of Matsuyama City, Industry and Economics Department, Tourism and International Exchange Division

I will introduce the access when returning to the Tokyo area from Ozu.

Airplane: From Ozu to Matsuyama Airport

When returning to Tokyo from Ozu, it is common to take a flight from Matsuyama Airport to Haneda Airport or Narita Airport.

A limousine bus is convenient for getting to the airport. There are limousine buses to the airport from JR Ozu Station six times a day. Adults: 1,800 yen (no reservation required), the journey takes approximately 1 hour and 10 minutes.

Railway: Ozu to Hiroshima

If you are returning from Ozu to Tokyo via Hiroshima, aim for Fukuyama Station, which is a Shinkansen stop.

From Iyo-Ozu Station, take the JR Yosan Line to Imabari Station. From there, transfer to a bus and head to Fukuyama Station. The journey takes approximately 3 hours and 30 minutes.

Enjoy experiences unique to Ehime

Ehime Prefecture has many attractions that can only be experienced here, such as the nature of the Seto Inland Sea and the history and culture.

The JR Yosan Line, which runs along the coastline overlooking the Seto Inland Sea, is not only convenient for getting around the prefecture, but is also known for its many scenic spots and nostalgic station buildings.

It will be a memorable experience like no other, including traveling by train.

Main image by Pixta

Written by

We are a leading inbound company that operates MATCHA, one of Japan's largest media outlets for foreign visitors visiting and living in Japan. Japan is full of many charms, and we want to share it all with the world. What is already known becomes deeper from a new perspective. What is not yet known, with a gentle gaze, carefully. As I traveled around the country and spoke with local people, I realized something. There are possibilities for Japan's future in all regions. With the existence of a company called MATCHA, we want to spread the charm of Japan to the world and create a world where people change and remain as they are. With this feeling in mind, we will continue to deliver the charms of Japan to the world.

The information presented in this article is based on the time it was written. Note that there may be changes in the merchandise, services, and prices that have occurred after this article was published. Please contact the facility or facilities in this article directly before visiting. Some of our articles contain affiliate links. We kindly ask our readers to exercise careful judgement when making a purchase or booking a service online.

The contents on this page may partially contain automatic translation.