KYARY PAMYU PAMYU meets IMABARI: A Visit to the Historical Sea Route

17.June.2021 | FEATURES / SPOT

Imabari is a city in Ehime Prefecture that faces the Seto Inland Sea. Since olden times, it has flourished as an important location for marine traffic. It’s home to a bounty of recognised national treasures and historical heritage sights, and is also famous for its production of citrus fruits such as mikan. Japanese pop star, model, and icon Kyary Pamyu Pamyu took a trip to this ancient city to discover its wonder and beauty.

 

A Visit to the Historical Sea Route

 

 

Oyamazumi Shrine

A ‘power spot’ revered by prominent people

Oyamazumi Shrine has been revered by prominent figures throughout history as a place dedicated to the god of the mountain, god of the ocean, and the god of war. It’s home to numerous Important Cultural Properties which are available for viewing by the public such as the armour worn by the military commander Minamoto no Yoshitsune when the Minamoto clan won the Genpei War (1180-1185), armour worn by women, and more. The shrine is also a notable power spot for the ancient tree that has stood there for 2,600 years and is now recognised as a natural monument of Japan. Power spots are places in Japan where the spiritually-inclined draw energy from.

 

Information

Oyamazumi Shrine

Address: 3327 Omishimacho Miyaura, Imabari, Ehime 794-1393, Japan

TEL: 0897-82-0032

Opening Hours: Sunrise to 17:00

National Treasure Building: 8:30-17:00 (Last Entries 16:30)

Official Website: https://oomishimagu.jp/

 

Kurushima Kaikyo Service Area

Lip-smacking food aplenty

If you’re one for great views, then the Kurushima Kaikyo service area is a must-visit, offering a panoramic look at the Kurushima Strait of the Seto Inland Sea. The service area is very well know particularly for the Jaguchi Mikan Juice, something of a city legend in Ehime where you can enjoy fresh mikan juice straight from a tap. You can also tuck a rice bowl dish made with tachiuo hairtail caught in the Seto Inland Sea that’s made to look like Kurushima Kaikyō Bridge, or try Imabari’s soul food dish: the Imabari Yakibuta Tamago Meshi, a pork, egg, and rice bowl. Don’t pass up the chance to snap a photo at the designated photo spot with the Seto Inland Sea in the back either like Kyary above.

 

Information

Kurushima Kaikyo Service Area

Address: 3-9-68 Ohamacho, Imabari, Ehime, 794-0002, Japan

Food Court: [Weekdays] 8:00-21:00 / [Weekends & Holidays] 7:00-22:00

Shops: [Weekdays] 8:00-21:00 / [Weekends & Holidays] 7:00-22:00

Outside Shopping Area & Cafes: [Weekdays] 9:00-17:00 / [Weekends & Holidays] 9:00-18:00

Official Website: https://www.jb-highway.co.jp/sapa/kurushima.php

 

Murakami Suigun Museum

Dedicated to the Imabari heroes who protected the ocean


Murakami Suigun Museum is dedicated to kaizoku—pirates, or lords of the sea—something which conjures to mind villainy or bad guys, but the Murakami pirates were also considered heroes who helped maintain order and protect the sea during the Sengoku warring period of Japan. The museum features many displays of Murakami family treasures including the battle surcoat which the pirate leader wore over his armour, proudly bearing the Murakami family crest. Visitors can wear replicas of this coat, which Kyary tired herself: “Now I’m sorta like a military commander too,” she said.

 

Information 

Murakami Suigun Museum

Address: 1285 Miyakubocho Miyakubo, Imabari, Ehime 794-2203, Japan
TEL: 0897-74-1065

Opening Hours: 9:00-17:00

Closed: Mondays (or Tuesday if the Monday falls on a public holiday) / New Year Holidays (Dec 29-Jan 3)

Official Website: https://www.city.imabari.ehime.jp/museum/suigun/

 

Roadside Station Yoshiumi Iki-iki-kan

A bundle of fun and entertainment in one place

Roll on up to Roadside Station Yoshiumi Iki-iki-kan to enjoy a shichirin BBQ feast with fresh seafood caught in the Seto Inland Sea while gazing out across Kurushima Kaikyo. This building complex serves as a resting spot and is also the perfect place to purchase local souvenirs including Ehime specialty products. It’s also famous for its offering the chance to board a boat to ride around Kurushima Kaikyo, renting out bicycles, and more. You’ll also be able to meet Koro-chan, a popular fish who has lived there for 30 years.

 

Information

Roadside Station Yoshiumi Iki-iki-kan

Address: 4520-2 Yoshiumichomyo, Imabari, Ehime 794-2114, Japan

TEL: 0897-84-3710

Opening Hours: 9:00-17:00

Restaurant: 10:00-16:00 (Last Orders 15:00)

Closed: New Year’s Day (and certain days in winter)

Official Website: http://www.imabari-shimanami.jp/ikiiki/

 

Dolphin Farm Shimanami

Meet the cute and friendly dolphins

 

Dolphin Farm Shimanami, which is connected to Hakata Beach, is the best and biggest place in Japan to interact with dolphins. Visitors can get close to them and the dolphins will show off their tricks and skills. There’s even a car camping area you can stay at.

 

Information

Dolphin Farm Shimanami

Address: 1673 Hakatacho Kanoura, Imabari, Ehime 794-2302, Japan

TEL: 0897-72-8787

Opening Hours: 9:00-17:00

Closed: On days with bad weath

Official Website: https://www.df-shimanami.com/

 

Hakata Beach

A white sandy beach rolling out 200-meters 

 

 

Hakata Beach is located at the base of Oshima Bridge in Hakata. The beach is famous for its salt which is best tried on their popular sweet-tasting sea salt ice cream.

 

Information

Hakata Beach

Address: 1668-1 Hakatacho Kanoura, Imabari, Ehime 794-2302, Japan

Sea Bathing: Early July – Late August

Official Website: https://www.city.imabari.ehime.jp/kanko/spot/?a=198

 

Imabari Towels

High quality towels woven with tradition and technique

 

Imabari is the biggest producer of towels in Japan. Even their white towels alone have countless types you can choose from, allowing you to pick which level of softness and comfort you want. The iconic brand logo is also impactful, capturing the quality, production, and enthusiasm that the makes have for the product. Kyary herself uses them all the time!

 

Information 

Imabari Towel

Official Website: https://www.imabaritowel.jp/

 

Sunrise Itoyama

Need a bike?

Sunrise Itoyama, located in the Imabari Central Cycling Terminal, is a rental bicycle service that has bikes and helmets for everyone’s needs. Rent out a bike and ride the Shimanami Sea Route which connects Ehime and Hiroshima with a series of bridges that hop across the islands of the Seto Inland Sea.

 

Information 

Sunrise Itoyama

Address: 2-8-1 Sunabacho, Imabari, Ehime 794-0001, Japan

TEL: 0898-41-3196

Rent-a-Cycle Details: https://www.sunrise-itoyama.jp/archives/rentacycle/

Official Website: https://www.sunrise-itoyama.jp/

 

Marutomi

The famous restaurant known to every local

If you want the real experience of Imabari’s yakitori soul food, you should visit Marutomi, a yakitori eatery. Imabari yakitori is different from the usual Japanese yakitori as it doesn’t come skewered. Instead, the chicken is cut into small pieces and fried that way. One of the most popular ways to have it is with the skin on so the outside is crunchy and the inside succulent. It goes perfect with a cup of sake too.

 

Information 

Marutomi

2-3-6 Katayama, Imabari, Ehime 794-0063, Japan

TEL: 0898-23-2740

Opening Hours: 17:30-22:00

Closed: Wednesdays

Official Website: https://maru-marutomi.jp/

 

Imabari Castle

A castle by the sea

Imabari Castle, built by the daimyo Tōdō Takatora, is known famously as one of Japan’s three “Castles on the Sea” and was also listed in Japan’s Top 100 Castles. When it was first constructed, boats could enter the moat from the ocean. It’s a site that breathes the prosperity that Imabari has enjoyed as a significant location for maritime traffic, the same Imabari that the Murakami pirates sought to protect. Head on up to the top of the castle to stand on the observation deck and gaze at an unbroken view of the city.

 

Information

Imabari Castle

Address: 3-1-3 Toricho, Imabari, Ehime, 794-0036, Japan

TEL: 0898-31-9233

Opening Hours: 9:00-17:00

Closed: December 29 – December 31

Official Website: https://www.city.imabari.ehime.jp/museum/imabarijo/

 

Kirosan Observatory Park

A breathtaking spectacle to remember

Kirosan Observatory Park is officially recognised by Setonaikai National Park. Standing atop the observation deck fills the eyes with wonder as they gaze upon a panoramic stretch of Imabari, the Seto Inland Sea, and Kurushima Kaikyo all at once. Kyary wrapped up her time in Imabari here as the sunset coloured the sky and sea in warm evening hues.

 

Information 

Kirosan Observatory Park

Address: 487-4 Yoshiumicho Minamiura, Imabari, Ehime 794-2115, Japan

No Fixed Holidays

Open 24-hours a day

Official Website: https://www.city.imabari.ehime.jp/kanko/spot/?a=182

 

Imabari Tourism Information: https://www.city.imabari.ehime.jp/kanko/

 

We hope you enjoyed joining Kyary on her adventures across Imabari, and perhaps she even got you a little curious in wanting to visit the city yourself. It’s a treasure trove filled with vistas by the sea, in nature, and in the city itself with its Important Cultural Properties. Food is also a big part of travel for many people, so you can rest assured that your belly will be satisfied in Imabari as you try their speciality mikan, fresh seafood fished in the Seto Inland Sea, and more.

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