Aioi (相生市 Aioi-shi) is a small rural city located near the border of Hyogo and Okayama Prefectures. In 2008, the city had an estimated population of 32,584 people. It is famous for its dragon boat racing, which is the feature of the annual May festival, as well as Peron Castle which many people visit for the hot springs.
Aioi has a local JR station with trains running in both directions - towards Himeji and towards Ako.
Surprisingly, Aioi is home to a bullet train station as well, making it very easy to travel to Tokyo or Hakata.
In addition, there are a number of buses running around the city as well as to locations around Harima. There are also taxi ranks on both sides of the station exits.
There is a large JET community in Aioi. Currently nine ALTs, along with various Japanese teachers, live in the teachers' housing apartment, and all travel to different schools around the Harima area. One ALT works directly for Aioi Senior High School, the school located directly behind the apartment block, and another ALT travels between the Aioi Industrial High School and another placement. The other working schools include high schools in Himeji, Tatsuno and Kamigori.
The Aioi Peron Festival takes place on the last weekend in May every year. Besides the dragon boat racing, there are hundreds of food stalls, festival games, places to relax with a picnic and parades of people wearing summer kimonos. There are also fireworks on the Saturday evening, which can be seen from just about anywhere in Aioi, although the best spot is down by the bay.
There are three main shopping areas in Aioi, but both are best accessed by walking, cycling or taking the bus.
The MaxValue complex has a 24-hour supermarket, a McDonald's, a pharmacy, a homewares store, the Docomo phone shop, Seria (¥100 shop) and several Japanese restaurants, including Sato and okonimiyaki. It can be accessed by taking the train to Nishi-Aioi Station and then walking approximately ten minutes. Otherwise, it is approximately a fifteen minute walk from Aioi Station.
Close to the MaxValu complex, there is also a Co-Op supermarket, another supermarket that specialises in fresh food and breads, a pharmacy, Minato Bank, Daiso (¥100 shop) and various other shops. Around this area is also the emergency buildings such as the firestation, police station and the main hospital.
On the other side of town, you can also find another Co-Op supermarket, the Softbank phone shop, Tsutaya (DVD shop) as well as several restaurants including the Dolphin Steak House.
Dolphin Steak House
In this section write about any other services. Maybe banks, post offices, medical, libraries, hair dresser, sports, travel agencies. Maybe places you found helpful like English schools
Most ALTs are signed up to Minato Bank. Accounts can be accessed through local ATMs in the convenience stores, at the Minato Bank ATM inside the train station, or at the main branch near the central Co-Op supermarket.
The city has two hospitals, a post-office (with several post-boxes throughout the city and in the convenience stores), a gym, a swimming pool and a phone shop for each of the major carriers (SoftBank, AU, Docomo).
Without a car, it can be difficult to access anywhere in Aioi quickly. The major supermarkets are a distance away on-foot, so it is highly recommended that ALTs purchase a bicycle. Bicycles can be purchased from Onishi Bicycles located in front of the train station opposite AU, or from the homestore near MaxValue. However, bear in mind that Aioi is far from a flat city, so be prepared for some hills along the journey.