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Ehime and Kochi: Havens for Food and Nature Lovers



One of four districts on Shikoku Island, Ehime Prefecture has some of the most fantastic seafood dishes in Japan. If you’re a seafood lover, try taimeshi (seasoned rice cooked with sea bream).  


Depending on where you are, taimeshi is served in different ways. In the eastern regions of Matsuyama and Imabari, the dish consists of rice cooked with a whole sea bream. To the south in the coastal town of Uwajima, fresh sea bream sashimi is dipped in a mixture of soy sauce and egg and presented on a bowl of white rice. This is the one I tried―the sea bream was so fresh and sweet! 


The Ehime region’s taimeshi tastes as good as it looks.


While in Shikoku, I’m glad I was able to witness one of Japan’s three largest karst―that is, a landscape made up of limestone. Located deep in Shikoku Island, Shikoku Karst is a stunning geological formation caused by the erosion of limestone hillsides, where sweeping grasslands are scattered with white limestone mounds and conical sinkholes. 

Here, the scenery transitions beautifully with the seasons. Spring sees the grass turn a vibrant green. On hikes through the area in summer, you can see alpines. During autumn, silver grass and autumn leaves cover the landscape, while in winter, snow blankets the hillsides. At night, there are many opportunities for stargazing!


At Shikoku Karst, the scenery transitions seamlessly with the seasons.


My next stop was Kochi Prefecture, which is about a two-hour-drive away. One of the highlights is Yasui Gorge, a major spot to view autumn foliage. Surrounded by moss-covered cliffs and a pristine forest, the gorge has such crystal-clear waters, you can see the stones on the riverbed! 

Yasui Gorge is one of the best places to see the water glow in the shade of Niyodo Blue. The river’s color changes in different seasons and at different times. It’s all so beautiful that I can just stare at the water for hours!


Yasui Gorge is one of the best places to see Niyodo Blue.


After a long day out, it was time to pamper myself with Sawachi-ryori, a large platter filled with generous portions of sashimi, katsuo tataki (a saltwater fish dish), sushi, fried food, stewed food, and pickles. The serving was huge; luckily, I had friends to share it with. A tradition in Kochi, Sawachi-ryori is the ultimate choice for any drinking party in Kochi―a wonderful way to conclude a most enjoyable day of exploration! 


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