Ainan, Ehime

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Ainan
愛南町
Town
Flag of Ainan
Flag
Location of Ainan in Ehime Prefecture
Location of Ainan in Ehime Prefecture
Ainan is located in Japan
Ainan
Ainan
Location in Japan
Coordinates: 32°58′N 132°35′E / 32.967°N 132.583°E / 32.967; 132.583Coordinates: 32°58′N 132°35′E / 32.967°N 132.583°E / 32.967; 132.583
Country Japan
Region Shikoku
Prefecture Ehime Prefecture
District Minamiuwa
Government
 • Mayor Masafumi Shimizu (清水雅文?)[1]
Area
 • Total 239.58 km2 (92.50 sq mi)
Population (August, 2006)
 • Total 27,466
 • Density 49.05/km2 (127.0/sq mi)
Time zone Japan Standard Time (UTC+9)
Symbols
- Tree Quercus phillyraeoides (姥目樫 Ubamegashi?)
- Flower Akebono azalea (曙躑躅 Akebono tsusuji?)
- Bird Japanese White-eye (目白 Mejiro?)
Address 2420 Kō, Jōhen, Ainan-chō, Minamiuwa-gun, Ehime-ken
798-4196
Phone number (0895) 72-1211
Website Town of Ainan

Ainan (愛南町 Ainan-chō?) is a large town made up of smaller village suburbs in southern Ehime Prefecture, on the island of Shikoku in Japan.

On October 1, 2004 all the former towns of Minamiuwa (Jōhen, Mishō, Nishiumi, Uchiumi, and Ipponmatsu) merged to form a larger town, Ainan.

Ainan is known for its fishing and agriculture industries which produce a variety of products, including bonito, red snapper[disambiguation needed], squid, and mikan oranges. In addition, Kanjizaiji is located in Ainan. Kanjizaiji is a Shingon Buddhist temple and one of the 88 temples on the Shikoku Pilgrimage.

Geography and climate[edit]

A view of the Sozu River in Ainan

Ainan is located between the mountains of southern Ehime and the Pacific Ocean, on the border with Kochi prefecture. As a result, winters in Ainan are relatively mild. It's rare to see snow in most parts of the town, though flurries may be seen several times a year. The rainy season runs from June to July, with some yearly variation. The rest of summer is hot and humid, with infrequent rain showers.

The Sozu river runs though Ainan and is often a site for fishing, bike rides, and picnics for the local residents.

Due to its rural location, Ainan is home to several nature parks and offers scuba diving and glass-bottom boat rides to nearby Kashima island. However, there are no train lines that run to the city, making it a difficult place for tourists to visit.

Festivals[edit]

Men carry a mikoshi during the fall festival

A variety of festivals are celebrated in Ainan, including Ainan Tairyo Matsuri in May, Natsu Matsuri (Summer festival), Obon, and Aki Matsuri.

During the Obon festival, Japan's equivalent of All Souls' Day, family members from all over Japan return to their family homes in Ainan to remember the souls of the dead. The festival is celebrated all over town, from the larger parts of Misho to the smallest villages in Nishiumi. In the evening, torches and lanterns can be seen along the seashore where the towns are gathering.

Aki Matsuri (fall festival) is a major event throughout the town. Townspeople gather and celebrate by drinking and watching mikoshi, heavy portable shrines which are carried by townsmen. Ainan's fall festivals often feature an ushi-oni, or cow demon, a large float which is pitted against other mikoshi in shrine fights.

Travel[edit]

Travel to Ainan is hindered by the lack of train lines, though Johen bus center offers express buses to Uwajima and Matsuyama. The nearest trains lines are to the north, in Uwajima, or to the south, in Sukumo. For travel to further destinations, Johen bus center offers a limited selection of overnight buses to Osaka and Tokyo.

In addition, Ainan can be reached by Japanese route 56, which runs around the island of Shikoku and through the cities of Matsuyama and Kochi.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "町長室/総合案内" [Office of the Town Mayor/Comprehensive Guide] (in Japanese). Ainan Town. Retrieved September 5, 2012. 

External links[edit]

Media related to Ainan, Ehime at Wikimedia Commons