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Saijo

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Saijō [1] (西条), also known as Iyo-Saijō (伊予西条), is in Ehime prefecture, Shikoku island, Japan.

Uchinuki

Get in[edit]

Iyo-Saijō station is on the JR Yosan Line from Uwajima to Takamatsu.

From Okayama on Honshu, the Shiokaze limited express train makes hourly runs to Iyo-Saijō (1 3/4 - 2 hours, ¥4740, no charge with Japan Rail Pass).

By car, Saijō is accessible by the Matsuyama Expressway (Komatsu IC and Saijō IC exits) and the Imabari Expressway (Komatsu IC exit), as well as locally via National Route 11 (about 90 minutes from Matsuyama Airport).

The Orange Ferry runs between Osaka and Tōyo Port in Saijō.

Get around[edit]

Public transporation in Saijō is limited, but taxis are available at all seven stations on the JR Yosan Line that lie within the Saijō city limits. There is a limited local bus system. A dedicated bus runs between Iyo-Saijō station and the Asahi Brewery.

Rental bicycles are available at the Saijō Tourism Center next to Iyo-Saijō station for ¥200/hour. Saijō is a relatively flat city and easily bikeable.

See[edit][add listing]

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[2] 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[3](in Japanese).

Uchinuki, the flowing artesian well

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.

Do[edit][add listing]

Park in Saijo Railway History
  • Saijō Festival. This massive festival runs from October 14-17 at three shrines in the city. The largest of the three is the Isono Shrine Festival from October 15-16th. These festivals feature over 100 hand-carried portable shrines known as danjiri, which are up to 5 meters tall and weigh over 600 kilograms. The festivals feature temporary markets with Japanese festival food and plenty of displays by the danjiri as they roam the city carried by singing men and women in traditional clothing. Detailed information on the festival can be found on the Saijō city website [4]. If you are in town for the festivities, be prepared to be offered lots of food and drinks by fellow festival-goers. Saijō's citizens are known in Ehime as matsuri-baka ("crazy about the festival") because of the size and intensity of their fall festival.  edit
  • Aqua Route. This walking tour starts at the Saijō Tourism Center, which is on the right when exiting Iyo-Saijō station, next to the Shikoku Railway Culture Center. Saijō is as famous for its clear mountain spring water as for its festival, maybe even more so. These water springs naturally bubble up in the town and have been built into springs called uchinuki ([5]). The Saijō Tourism Center can give you a map (English available) and short description of a route through town to many of these springs. Bring your own bottle and drink the fresh water, which many citizens pump directly into their homes! The route goes by the grounds of the old Saijō Castle, now Saijō High School, which still has a moat and castle gate. It also goes by some pleasant fountains and tree-lined avenues.  edit
  • Shikoku Railway Culture Museum, (On your right when exiting Iyo-Saijō station.). This lovely museum houses a first-generation 0 Series Shinkansen bullet train car and a JNR Class DF50 diesel locomotive (No. DF50 1), and a new building displaying three more historical train cars will open in Spring 2014. One building is dedicated to Shinji Sogō, known as the "father" of the bullet train, who is from the Saijō area.  edit

Buy[edit][add listing]

Tokimeki Suito-ichi, the direct sales shop

Eat[edit][add listing]

Drink[edit][add listing]

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 [6].

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.

Sleep[edit][add listing]

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.

Get out[edit]

  • Mount Ishizuchi, the tallest mountain in Shikoku, is one hour away by bus.
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