Ehime Prefecture (Japan)

2017-04-11 10:40:22 , Source : The Government Website of Shaanxi Province

Surrounded by the calm Seto Inland Sea in the north, the Uwa Sea in the west and Shikoku Mountains in the south, Ehime Prefecture, with an area of about 5,676km sq. and a population of about 1,500,000, lies in the northern part of the island of Shikoku, the smallest of the four major islands of Japan.

Its capital, Matsuyama, is the largest city on Shikoku, with a population of over 500,000 and an abundance of historical and cultural resources such as the famous Matsuyama Castle and Dogo Hot Spring Spa, the oldest bathing area in Japan.

Ehime, which sounds feminine to Japanese ears and literally means "beautiful maiden", is blessed by a mild climate with an average low of 5.3degrees C (42degrees F)in January and an average high of 27degrees C(81degrees F)in August. It offers natural beauty such as the Seto Inland Sea National Park, Ashizuri Uwakai National Park and Mt. Ishizuchi, the highest mountain in western Japan, and attracts millions of tourists annually. It has an average annual rainfall is about 1,300mm, however, most of it falls during the rainy season from mid-June to mid-July.

History

Until the Meiji Restoration, Ehime Prefecture was known as Iyo Province. Since before the Heian period, the area was dominated by fishermen and sailors who played an important role in defending Japan against pirates and Mongolian invasions.

After the Battle of Sekigahara, the Tokugawa shogun gave the area to his allies, including Kato Yoshiaki who built Matsuyama Castle, forming the basis for the modern city of Matsuyama.

The name Ehime comes from the kuniumi part of the Kojiki where Iyo Province is mythologically named Ehime "lovely princess."

In 2012, a research group from the University of Tokyo and Ehime University said they had discovered rare earth deposits in Matsuyama.

Economy

The coastal areas around Imabari and Saijō host a number of industries, including dockyards of Japan's largest shipbuilder, Imabari Shipbuilding. Chemical industries, oil refining, paper and cotton textile products also are a feature of the prefecture. Rural areas mostly engage in agricultural and fishing industries, and are particularly known for citrus fruits such as mikan (tangerine) and iyokan and cultured pearls.

Ikata's nuclear power plant produces a large portion of Shikoku's electricity.

Culture

The oldest extant hot spring in Japan, Dogo Onsen, is located in Matsuyama. It has been used for over two thousand years.

Iyo dialect, one of the Shikoku dialects, is the dialect spoken in Ehime Prefecture.

The two museums of Ehime Prefecture are Museum of Ehime History and Culture Kaimei School.