Kururin Ferris Wheel
Kururin Ferris Wheel
The Iyo Railway Co., or Iyotetsu, was the first railway in Shikoku and the third private railway in Japan. It manages most of the rail and tram transport within Matsuyama. The Iyotetsu Takashimaya department store is the central terminus for the network. This follows the Japanese tradition of major railway lines having department stores at the terminus of their lines, so that they can convey people directly into the company-owned marketplace.
As a novel attraction, Iyotetsu built a huge Ferris wheel on the roof of its department store bringing an extra dimension to their travel options. Known as Kururin, this wheel is a highly visible landmark, especially at night when it’s illuminated in constantly changing patterns.
A notice in the lobby says that the gondola might shake in the wind, but you’re not to worry. You clamber into the gondola while it’s still moving. As soon as your gondola rises out of the shadow of the building, it begins to vibrate. You can hear the roar of the wind and feel a breeze through the vents in the door.
The view is magnificent. You can see the whole of Matsuyama laid out around you. The top of Kururin is one of the highest places in Matsuyama. Although the top floor of Matsuyama Castle is higher still, you can’t look down so directly on the streets from the castle, and so the effect is different. There’s an extra intensity to the view from Kururin. You can see the peak of Mt. Ishizuchi, which is a beautiful white in winter.
The sounds of the city enter the gondola with remarkable clarity—the train whistle of the Botchan Train and the screech of the trams on their rails.
At the very top, the wheel seems to stop, suspended in space above the city with the sea and the mountains in the distance. But the wheel goes on round, and soon you’re back at the bottom. One rotation takes 15 minutes. Daytime is great, but dusk is also an interesting time, when the sun is fading, and lights are coming on below you.
It costs 700 yen for a regular gondola that seats four people, or 900 yen for the single transparent gondola. Kururin is typically overlooked as a tourist attraction, but if you visit Matsuyama, it’s not to be missed.
Name in Japanese: くるりん
Address: 9F Takayashimaya, 5-1-1, Minatomachi, Matsuyama, Ehime 790-8587