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Tue, Nov. 21, 2017 Kikuma, Ehime: Pride and Pageantry
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Kikuma is located in northern Imabari City, Ehime Prefecture. The old town is known for its production of kawara roof tiles-an important industry with a history of more than 700 years. Many homes are decorated with ornate tiles at the end of roof ridges, called onigawara or "ogre tiles." They guard homeowners and town residents.
Our traveler Cyril Coppini visits a kawara factory and learns about residents' attachment to the traditional tiles.
He also discovers a colorful equine ritual with a history of over 600 years. The sacred rite, held on the grounds of the Kamo Shrine, involves horse racing and a pageant with both horse and rider in vibrant traditional costumes. Cyril meets a father and son who are devoted to the sacred race.

Otomouma-no-Hashirikomi (Autumn festival at Kamo Shrine)
Otomouma-no-Hashirikomi (Autumn festival at Kamo Shrine)
This exhilarating, ancient festival marks the arrival of autumn in Kikuma. Boy riders and their steeds race along a 300-meter stretch to the Kamo shrine
Date: Mid-October
Location: Approach to Kamo Shrine
Address: 1989 Hama, Kikuma, Imabari City, Ehime Prefecture, 799-2303
Inquiry: Imabari District Tourist Association
Tel: +81 (898) 22-0909
Kawara Kan Tile Museum
Kawara Kan Tile Museum
This center carries displays and information on the area's beautiful tiles. Visitors can also enjoy a tile-making workshop by reservation.
Regular holiday: Monday (postponed to Tuesday if Monday is a national holiday.)
Hours: 09:00 - 17:00
Admission: 200 yen per adult, 100 yen per child (up to high school student)
Tile-making experience: Price varies depending on tile type.
Address: 3067 Hama, Kikuma
Imabari City, Ehime Prefecture, 799-2303
Tel: +81 (898) 54-5755
The only tourist fruit-picking garden in Kikuma.
Season: May through around November
Hours: 09:00 - about 17:00 (Schedule changes depending on the weather. Check in advance.)
Address: 420 Kawanouchi, Kikuma, Imabari City, Ehime Prefecture, 799-8976
Tel: +81 (898) 54-3906 (Japanese only)
The confectionary store sells traditional monaka (wafer filled with sweet bean paste) featuring an onigawara design.
Closed: Wednesday
Hours: 07:30 - 20:30
Address: 2889 Hama, Kikuma, Imabari City, Ehime Prefecture, 799-2303
Tel: +81 (898) 54-2114 (Japanese only)
The Buddhist temple has an enormous onigawara at its entrance.
Open: All hours for worshippers
Address: 89 Hama, Kikuma, Imabari City, Ehime Prefecture, 799-2303
Inquiry: Imabari District Tourist Association
Tel: +81 (898) 22-0909
From Tokyo, it takes 1 hour and 20 minutes by air to Matsuyama Airport, then about 40 minutes by rail on the JR Yosan Line to Kikuma.
Travel Log

Traveler: Cyril Coppini > More Info


Occupation:Rakugo Performer

Length of residence in Japan:21 years

Reason:Learning Japanese

Traveler's Archives:

> SABAE: Eye on Design

In my many years in Japan, I have traveled all around the country.

The local diversity of Japan is amazing: every prefecture having its own unique culture, food, dialect. The beauty of Japan does not lie in one specific location. It's spread wide from the city streets, pulsating with energy, to the tranquility of mountaintop shrines and low-lying rice paddies in the countryside. There's a Japan for everyone.

The discovery of Kikuma district, city of Imabari, Ehime prefecture, on the island of Shikoku was special. Located only one hour and twenty minutes by plane from Tokyo, I found everything a traveler searching for traditional Japan could ever want: food, culture, people.

During this journey, I understood very well how much Kikuma's people love "matsuri" (festivals). There are matsuri all around Japan but the Otomouma-no-Hashirikomi is very unique as it is a matsuri starring kids and their steeds. The energy of the horses was impressive, too. I also learned a lot about "kawara" (roofing tiles), they are not only practical but also real pieces of art! In French, we say "artisan" for "craftsman" and "artiste" for "artist." Both words come from "art" and I deeply understood the meaning of this with Kikuma "kawara."

I also met wonderful people-warm and nice-and I look forward to coming back to visit my new friends I made along the way.

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