Nijinomori Koen Matsuno Road Station

Nijinomori Koen Road Station

This road station in Matsuno is a cut above the rest

Nijinomori Koen Matsuno Road Station
Anonymous   - 3 min read

Nijinomori Koen Matsuno is a Road Station in southern Ehime, close to the border with Kochi to the south. Road Stations, or Michi no Eki in Japanese, are government-designated rest areas found along roads and highways in Japan. Besides providing places for travelers to rest, they’re also intended to promote local tourism and trade. Shops sell local produce, snacks, souvenirs, and other goods. The local produce typically attracts local people too. But as Road Stations go, Nijinomori is a cut above the rest.

The Road Station is an eccentrically-styled pinkish building decorated with a cute fish motif. It sits next to the Hiromi River, a tributary of the famed Shimanto River. The fish motif is explained by the fact that the Road Station has its own aquarium of river fish and animals, the Osakanakan. This unique aquarium is home to some of the large and characterful fish that live in the Shimanto River, as well as even bigger fish from the Amazon, penguins from South America, and turtles who will stand on each other’s heads in their joy to see you. People drive all the way from Matsuyama to see the Osakanakan. Within the building housing the aquarium is a natural history-themed souvenir shop and a pleasant café with its own fish tanks.

Another special attraction of Nijinomori is the glass workshop. Here you can try your hand at blowing glass, or decorating a ready-made cup, photo frame or other glass product by sand-blasting it. There’s also a shop selling a range of glass products, many of which are ideal as gifts or souvenirs. I tend to associate tourist glassware with outrageously overpriced kitsch, but the shop has many cute and appealing things without any sticker shock.

The local produce shop selling fruit, vegetables, bread and handicrafts at bargain prices is also worth a look. The restaurant Yuzuriha serves a standard selection of rice and noodle dishes.

Next to the Road Station flows a very attractive river with shallows that children love to play in when the weather’s warm. Up the river and across the road from the Road Station is a kid’s play area with a very stimulating rope climbing frame (I’ve been stimulated by climbing it myself). The river and play area offer a great opportunity for children to let off steam after a long drive. And if you have time, the Poppo Onsen hot spring baths across the river are waiting.


Anonymous @rod.walters__archived

I was born in Bristol, England, and I came to Japan in 1991 … which means I’ve lived half my life in this island nation on the other side of the world. The theme of my career in Japan has been communication. I started as an English teacher, and moved into translation as I learned Japanese....