Ehime Prefecture was called Iyo in ancient times, 'nan' means 'south', and so Ehime's southwest region is called Nanyo.
Surrounded by the grand Shikoku Mountains (a range of mountains that top 1,000 meters), the Uwa Sea and the Seto Inland Sea with its beautiful island scenery, the Nanyo region is home to the most magnificent natural beauty in all of Ehime Prefecture. The region is formed from four cities and five towns: Uwajima City, Yawatahama City, Ozu City, Seiyo City, Uchiko Town, Ikata Town, Matsuno Town, Kihoku Town, and Ainan Town.
Steeped in the culture of 1,200 years of Shikoku pilgrimages, the region has a deep-rooted disposition toward hospitality, one distinguishing feature of which is the many tea houses where people entertain, "Osettai" -style, travelers and "Henro" pilgrims.
The Nanyo region is dotted with substantial samurai houses in castle towns, post towns that grew up along highways and all sorts of nostalgic townscapes full of Japanese ambience.
In recent years, outdoor sports which take full advantage of Nanyo's abundant nature have been prospering, and many travelers visit the region for activities which can only be experienced in Nanyo, Ehime, such as canyoning down Nametoko Valley (one of the greatest valleys in Shikoku) and the Sea Walker experience in which you get to stroll among coral reefs spreading out under the sea.
Ohanahan-dori (Ozu City)
In the Edo period, what is now the Nanyo region was separated into four domains: Uwajima Domain, Ozu Domain, Iyo Yoshida Domain and Niya Domain. As a result, a unique culture has developed in each area.
The diverse regional characteristics fostered by these unique cultures can be seen in traditional customs such as festivals and performing arts and in dialects and local cuisine, and features which seem similar but are different are to be found in every area.
These cultures have been carefully protected by the local people and handed down from generation to generation.
Uwajima Ushioni Matsuri (Uwajima City)
The Nanyo region is rich in nature and surrounded by sea, mountains, and rivers, so one of its distinguishing features is the large number of people involved in agriculture, forestry and fishing.
In particular, marine aquaculture of red sea bream, yellowtail, pearls and so on flourishes along the ria coastlines, with their complex interplay of coves and peninsulas, and in the calm Uwa Sea, which benefits from warm Kuroshio currents, and the region is a top producer which can boast one of the nation's leading production volumes.
The region's menu of experiential tourism, such as green tourism and pick-your-own farms, has been expanding recently, and producers have been actively getting involved from processing, to distribution, to sales.
Uwa Sea (Uwajima City)
One of the Nanyo region's greatest draws the fact that you can hear the voice of glorious nature all around you, in the rustling of the trees, the babbling of the brooks, the singing of the birds and the surging sound of the waves.
With the manifold ranges of the Shikoku Mountains, the Uwa Sea, its ria coastlines home to colorful tropical fish, and more, in Nanyo, nature that changes aspect in rich expression of the seasons is a constant presence, as are the sublime landscapes that it creates.
Nametoko Valley (Matsuno Town)