Guideto JapanCulture History
Ehime Prefecture in northwestern Shikoku has a long coastline stretching along the Seto Inland Sea to the north and the Uwa Sea and Bungo Channel to the west. It has many offshore islands and is home to the Cape Sada Peninsula, Japan’s narrowest headland. The interior of the prefecture is mountainous and sparsely populated.
Ehime Prefecture at a Glance
- Established in 1873 (formerly Iyo province)
- Capital: Matsuyama
- Population: 1,335,000 (as of Oct. 2020)
- Area: 5,676 km2
Large parts of the prefecture fall within the boundaries of national parks, namely the Ashizuri-Uwakai and Setonaikai National Parks, offering tourists scenic beauty and outdoor activities. Dōgo Onsen in Matsuyama draws visitors to its famed thermal waters, and the capital also boasts an original castle. The cities of Ōzu and Uwajima likewise have retained their historic keeps and other older charms.
Ehime hosts the dockyards of Imabari Shipbuilding, Japan’s largest shipbuilder, with chemicals, paper, textiles, and oil refining being other major industries. Forestry, mikan citrus orchards, and pearl cultivation are also important sectors of the economy. The city of Tobe is known for its ceramics.
- Ninomiya Chūhachi (1866–1936): Early aviator who successfully tested an airplane model he designed several years before the Wright brothers’ flight.
- Ōe Kenzaburō (1935–2023): Novelist and winner of the 1994 Nobel Prize in Literature.
- Nakamura Shūji (1954–): Electrical engineer who helped invent the blue LED, which earned him a share of the 2014 Nobel Prize in Physics.
- Syukuro Manabe (Manabe Shukurō) (1931–): Meteorologist and cowinner of the 2021 Nobel Prize in Physics for “groundbreaking contributions to our understanding of complex physical systems.”
(Originally published in English. Banner photo: The front of the Dōgo Onsen building in Matsuyama. © Pixta.)
For the complete list of the country’s 47 prefectures, see “The Prefectures of Japan.”