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Komyo-ji, a temple designed by Tadao Ando. (15 minutes walk from Iyo-Saijo station.)
Temples 60 through 64 on the Shikoku 88 Temple Pilgrimage fall within Saijo city limits. Temple 60, Yokomineji (横峰寺）is considered the most difficult temple to reach because of its lack of access by ropeway and the tough climb to get there. The closest rail access is from Iyo-Komatsu (伊予小松）station, where you will also find nearby temples 61 and 62, Ko-onji (香園寺） and Hojuji (宝寿寺, respectively. Temple 63, Kichijoji (吉祥寺) is an easy walk from Iyo-Himi (伊予氷見）station. Walk up the road without crossing the train tracks and make a right at the first small street, at the next corner it will be on your right. Temple 64, Maegameji (前神寺）is at the foot of Mt. Ishizuchi, and like Yokomineji it is particularly hard to access by walking. The closest train stop is, again, Iyo-Himi station. If you are interested in visiting these temples, it might be easiest to arrange to go with a bus tour with Setouchi Travel Company(in Japanese).
The Kamo river runs through Saijo halway between Iyo-Saijo (伊予西条) and Ishizuchijinja (石鎚神社） stations, and at the river there is a particularly pretty spot for cherry blossom viewing where the river comes down from the mountains and meets Route 11. From the station, take a 10 minute walk down Ekinishidori until you reach a fountain and uchinuki (water spring for which Saijo is famous) , make a left there and continue until you reach the road on the other side. Make a left at that road until you reach Route 11, right before it becomes the bridge over the Kamo River. Cross the road, then walk right toward the bridge. Make a left atop the levee (hill) next to the river until you reach a street lined with trees. You will reach a park and if you continue up this street there is a pleasant hill you can hike up, the entire hike is about 25 minutes, and affords pleasant city views, particularly in the early morning or late afternoon/evening.
Also, if you ride the train to Ishizuchijinja Station (石鎚神社駅), it is about a ten minute walk from there to the entrance road to Ishizuchi Shrine (not to be confused with access to hiking the mountain, which is more easily done by taking a bus from Saijo station to the ropeway.) The shrine is in homage to the spirit of Mt. Ishizuchi, and is a secluded and nice place to visit with commanding views of the surrounding area. Just head toward giant red gate, visible from the station platform.
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Saijo has various festivals in October to thank the gods for the bountiful rice harvest. Of these festivals, the most notable is the Isono shrine festival, which occurs the second weekend of every October. Information on the festival can be found at the Saijo city website . If you are in town for the festivities, be prepared to offer and be offered lots of food and drinks to fellow festival-goers.
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Asahi beer`s only brewery is on Shikoku, The Saijo Asahi Brewery is located on the waterfront. There are shuttle buses that run from Iyo-Saijo station to the brewery. Information can be found on their website .
On the road in front of the station are several Japanese style pubs. Also about a ten minute walk from the station is a street that has the majority of bars in Saijo. Making a left from the station onto Ekinishidori, cross the street and make a right onto the street directly after Iyokko ramen. About 3 blocks up this street are a string of pubs and bars, including the highly recommended World's End Cafe. The owner speaks a fair bit of English, and can make any drink you can think of if you can describe it to him. It also has a fair amount of imports and microbrewery beers, with Kirin on tap.
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There are several hotels within a few blocks of the station. All are business hotels catering mostly to Japanese business types. Expect to pay ¥7,500-9,000 for a room.
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