Saijō, Ehime

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Saijō
西条市
City

Flag
Location of Saijō in Ehime Prefecture
Saijō, Ehime is located in Japan
Saijō
Location in Japan
Coordinates: 33°55′N 133°11′E / 33.917°N 133.183°E / 33.917; 133.183Coordinates: 33°55′N 133°11′E / 33.917°N 133.183°E / 33.917; 133.183
CountryJapan
RegionShikoku
PrefectureEhime Prefecture
Government
 • MayorMasaru Aono (since November 2012)
Area
 • Total509.07 km2 (196.55 sq mi)
Population (December 31, 2013)
 • Total113,786
Time zoneJapan Standard Time (UTC+9)
Address164 Akeyashiki, Saijō-shi, Ehime-ken
793-8601
Phone number0897-56-5151
Websitewww.city.saijo.ehime.jp/english
 
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Saijō
西条市
City

Flag
Location of Saijō in Ehime Prefecture
Saijō, Ehime is located in Japan
Saijō
Location in Japan
Coordinates: 33°55′N 133°11′E / 33.917°N 133.183°E / 33.917; 133.183Coordinates: 33°55′N 133°11′E / 33.917°N 133.183°E / 33.917; 133.183
CountryJapan
RegionShikoku
PrefectureEhime Prefecture
Government
 • MayorMasaru Aono (since November 2012)
Area
 • Total509.07 km2 (196.55 sq mi)
Population (December 31, 2013)
 • Total113,786
Time zoneJapan Standard Time (UTC+9)
Address164 Akeyashiki, Saijō-shi, Ehime-ken
793-8601
Phone number0897-56-5151
Websitewww.city.saijo.ehime.jp/english

Saijō (西条市 Saijō-shi?) is a city in Ehime Prefecture, Japan.

Demographics[edit]

As of December 31, 2013, the city has a population of 113,786.[1] The total area is 509.07 km².[2] The city was founded on April 29, 1941. On November 1, 2004, the city of Tōyo, and the towns of Komatsu and Tanbara (both from Shūsō District) were merged with Saijō.

Geography[edit]

Saijo sits at the base of Mount Ishizuchi, the tallest peak in western Japan. The consolidated city of Saijō encompasses a broad area, spreading out across the entire Dōzen Plain from the foothills of the Ishizuchi Mountain Range to the Seto Inland Sea (the former Saijō City, Tōyo City, Komatsu Town and Tanbara Town), and also contains smaller communities extending in the lower reaches of the mountains. The Dōzen Plain is crossed by several rivers, the largest being the Kamo River and the Nakayama River.

The main city of Saijō is known for natural spring water. Signs throughout the city and at the city's train station call Saijō the "Spring Water Capital of Japan". Numerous fountains, known locally as uchinuki, are scattered throughout the city where water is frequently bottled by locals and visitors alike. Most private dwelling houses also drill private wells to take advantage of the water.[3]

History[edit]

The Saijō area was inhabited at least as early as the Jōmon Period, as evidenced by earthenware dated to approximately 6000 BC discovered in the Ichikura highland region. A large number of artifacts dating to the middle and late Yayoi Period have been unearthed on and around Mount Hachidō. The significant clustering of tombs in the later Kofun Period in the highlands has led archaeologists to believe that the flat plain on which modern Saijō sits was either too cold or too close to the Seto Inland Sea for tomb construction.[4]

Culture[edit]

Saijō Festival[edit]

Saijō is famous for its fall harvest festival, held annually over four days in October, which features over 80 hand-carried wooden floats known as danjiri.

Language[edit]

Residents of Saijō speak the Tōyo (eastern Ehime) variation of the Iyo dialect, which is part of the Western Japanese language group and similar in many ways to Kansai dialect. Due to some local variations in the dialect, people in Saijō refer to their particular form of Tōyo dialect as Saijō dialect (Saijō-ben).[5][6]

Origin of name[edit]

The first appearance of the name Saijō in written record is in a Kamakura Period order from the shogunate granting jurisidiction over the area to the Kōno family. The etymology of the name Saijō itself is unclear. One possible origin suggested in extant documents from Kikō-ji Temple in Niihama is that the region was once divided into a "western district" (the literal meaning of Saijō) and an eastern district (Tōjō, now Niihama) by the small group of mountains that lie between the two cities.[7]

Points of interest[edit]

The Railway History Park in Saijō

This museum located next to Iyo-Saijō Station houses a first-generation 0 Series Shinkansen bullet train car and a JNR Class DF50 diesel locomotive (No. DF50 1), as well as exhibits detailing the history of railways in Shikoku. Located next to the museum is the Shinji Sogō Memorial Museum and Saijo's Tourism Center. A life-size danjiri float can be viewed year-round in the tourism center.[8]

Shikoku Pilgrimage

The Saijō area is home to five Buddhist temples of the 88-temple Shikoku Pilgrimage: Yokomine-ji, Kōon-ji, Hōju-ji, Kichijō-ji, and Maegami-ji.

Ioki Memorial Museum

Located next to Saijō High School in the city's center, this museum displays biographical artifacts and sculptures by the famous sculptor and Saijō-native Ioki Itō (1918-1992). The museum possesses most of his award-winning pieces, and over 40 of Ioki's other sculptures can be viewed outdoors in various places around Saijō.[9]

Ishizuchi Shrine

Ishizuchi Shrine consists of a complex of four shrines located on Mount Ishizuchi. The main shrine is situated at the base of the mountain, and there are shrines on the summit and near the landing of the Ishizuchi Ropeway. Constructed to venerate the mountain itself, the shrine dates back to the Nara Period. Ishizuchi Shrine holds a 10-day ceremony and festival beginning on July 1 to mark the official opening of climbing season.[10]

Saijō Archaeological History Museum

This three-story building located in the "Citizen's Forest" on Mount Hachidō displays artifacts unearthed in the region, the oldest holdings being pottery and tools dating back to the Yayoi Period. The third floor features a gallery for special exhibitions, and visitors can see as far as the Nishiseto Expressway from the museum balcony. Two Yayoi Period dwellings were reconstructed on the top of Mount Hachidō and are accessible via several trails leaving from the museum. The exterior of the museum is illuminated at night.[11]

Horseshoe crabs

The Saijō area is known for Tachypleus tridentatus, an Asian species of horseshoe crab. This species is known by the common name "helmet crabs" (kabutogani). The Tōyo Cultural Center features an exhibit on the crabs and several live specimens on display. A mascot character named "Kabuchan," a horseshoe crab with a heart on its underside, was created in Saijō.[12]


Economy[edit]

Coca Cola and Asahi Breweries have manufacturing plants in the city.

The Imabari Shipbuilding Company maintains a shipyard in Saijo. The company's 800-t cranes are among the largest of their kind in the world and are a major visual landmark.[13]

Notable people[edit]

Sister cities[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "西条市の人口・世帯数" [Population and number of households in Saijo] (in Japanese). Japan: City of Saijo. January 7, 2014. Retrieved January 11, 2014. 
  2. ^ "土地及び気象 [Land and Climate], from 西条市と計データ(2014年版)[Saijo City Statistical Data (2014 edition)]" (PDF) (in Japanese). Japan: City of Saijo. Retrieved 11 January 2014. 
  3. ^ Saijō City Disaster Prevention Department, ed. (March 2012). 30年後の君たちへ [To the Next Generation] (in Japanese). Saijō City, printed by Watanabe Publishing. 
  4. ^ Ehime Prefecture High School Education Research Association, Social Studies Department, ed. (March 1993). 西条市の地理(平成五年) [The Geography of Saijō (1993)] (in Japanese). Ehime Prefecture High School Education Research Association, Social Studies Department, printed by Seki Publishing. 
  5. ^ Fujioka, Kazuo (January 1989). "郷土の方言について[On Our Local Dialect]". 西條史談 [Saijō Journal of History] (in Japanese) (Saijō Historical Society) (16): 43–53. 
  6. ^ Yamamoto, Masaru (September 2003). "伊予国 西条弁(その一)[Iyo Province: Saijō Dialect (Vol. 1)]". 西条史談 [Saijō Journal of History] (in Japanese) (Saijō Historical Society) (59): 62–90. 
  7. ^ Akehi, Manabu (1985). 西條の歴史探訪 [Searching for Saijō's History] (in Japanese). "Searching for Saijō's History" Committee, printed by Sasaki Publishing. 
  8. ^ The Railway History Park in Saijo
  9. ^ Ioki Memorial Museum (Japanese)
  10. ^ Ishizuchi Shrine (Japanese)
  11. ^ Saijo Archaeological History Museum (Japanese)
  12. ^ Tōyo Cultural Center (Japanese)
  13. ^ Imabari Shipbuilding Co., Ltd.
  14. ^ Yuto Nagatomo birthday press release, F.C.Internazionale Milano - Official Website, 2013
  15. ^ Shinji Sogo Memorial Museum
  16. ^ List of Sister Cities, Ehime Prefectural Government, 2013

External links[edit]