With a population of 515,000, Matsuyama city is the largest city on Shikoku, though relatively small compared to metropolitans on the Japanese mainland. The city itself is postitioned in a river basin connected to the Ishite and Shigenobu rivers. Its borders are framed by the Ishizuchi mountain range to the south and Takanawa Mountains to the north. The central hub is anchored by Matsuyama-shi Station and connects local trams, buses and Iyotetsu train line. Those traveling further on can connect to JR Matsuyama Station which is just a short walk to the west.
Matsuyama is famous throughout Japan for its legendary Dōgo Onsen 道後温泉. Together with Arima Onsen in Hyōgo and Shirahama Onsen in Wakayama, it is considered one of Japan’s Great Ancient Hot Springs. The Dogo onsen architecture is called “Sansoro” which translated as 3-tiered roof. The all-wood building was completed in 1894 and it holds monumental presence in central Matsuyama. Guests can soothe and heal their bodies in the hot baths then head to one of the uniquely decorated traditional guest rooms to relax. The special sound of its moving water led to the Dogo Onsen being selected as one of the Best 100 Sounds of Japan. I was also mentioned in the second oldest book of Japanese history – the Nihon Shoki 720 AD – which makes it the oldest onsen in Japan. On its Centennial in 1994, it was designated as an important cultural asset making it the first hot springs in Japan to recieve this rare honor.
- Kami no Yu 1F 神の湯 6AM-11PM. The “Bath of the Gods” is a simple public style Includes access to the Exhibition Room and Botchan’s Rooms. Adults ¥400, children ¥150
- Kami no Yu 2F 神の湯 6AM-10PM. 60 minutes Blue Path. Bathers can use the lounge, wear a Dōgo yukata, and have tea with sembei (rice cracker). Includes access to the Exhibition Room and Botchan’s Rooms. Adults ¥800, children ¥400
- Tama no Yu 2F 霊の湯 Red Path 6AM-10PM. The “Bath of the Spirits” 60 minute course includes use of Kami no Yu, lounge, a yukata, snacks, towel, the two aforementioned rooms and a 15 minute Yushinden tour. Adults ¥1200, children ¥600
- Tama no Yu Private Room 3F 霊の湯 Yellow Path 6AM-10PM 80 minutes. The room is private, and the provided yukata has a heron design. Botchan dango (rice dumplings) are served. Adults ¥1500, children ¥750
MATSUYAMA CITY TOURIST SPOTS
SHIKI MEMORIAL MUSEUM
About 4 minutes on foot from Iyotetsu Dogo Onsen Station or about 8 km from Matsuyama IC.
This literary museum comprehensively surveys literary works by Soseki Natsume and other writers who hailed from Matsuyama. The main exhibits of the museum center on Shiki Masaoka, who is known as the pioneer of modern haiku poems
EHIME CHILDREN’S CASTLE
- えひめこどもの城 Kodomo no Jō
- 108 Nishinochō, Otsu
- TEL +81 089-963-3300
- HOURS Tues-Sun 9AM-5PM, closed for New Years Dec 29-Jan 1
- a huge playground (350,000 m²) with five play zones of slides, roller coasters and even workshops for cooking and crafts
- good for families and couples
- ¥300 adults, ¥100 children
HAIKU MONUMENT TOUR
- Matsuyama is famous for haiku writers who make pilgrimages to Matsuyama
- countless stones engraved with haiku verses by artists including Takahama Kyoshi (高浜 虚子), Ishida Hakyō (石田波郷) and Yanagihara Kyokudō (柳原 極堂)
- Free and open 24 hours
When trying to find the most suitable Matsuyama hotel the most obvious route is to go through the various travel review sites. What they won’t give you though is a qualitative feel for atmosphere. The list below places a premium on comfort, quality and proximity to the places and restaurants the traveller will want to visit.
There is a wonderful shopping arcade that connects the Dogo Onsen to the train station. It is covered by a retro canopy as seen in many cities throughout Japan. Within is an eclectic mix of old and new to entertain and amuse the eyes it also has several excellent souvenir shops. One of those shops is the famous Imabari Towel company. There has been a recent attempt to revive local businesses of importance by combining the skills of designers with traditional business. The result is a fresh and exciting blend of handmade quality and contemporary design.
MATSUYAMA JAPAN TRAVEL
- Ehime Prefectural Information Center (EPIC) (愛媛県国際交流センター), 1-1 Dogo Ichiman (Iyotetsu tram or bus to Minamimachi/Kenminbunka Kaikan Mae)
- TEL +81 089-917-5678
- HOURS M-Sa 8:30AM-5PM
- Located behind the Ehime Prefectural Cultural Hall
- JR Matsuyama Station
- TEL +81 089-931-3914
- HOURS 8:30AM-5:15PM
- Matsuyama Convention & Visitors Bureau, 3-2-46 Okaido, Matsuyama Castle Ropeway Station Bldg 2F
- TEL +81 089-935-7511
- HOURS Mon-Fri
- Free English volunteer guides are available firstname.lastname@example.org. http://matsuyamavolunteerguide.jimdo.com
There are also information desks at the ferry terminal and Dōgo Onsen.
BEST OF MATSUYAMA
- BEST HOTEL MATSUYAMA
- BEST RESTAURANT MATSUYAMA
- BEST TOURIST SPOT MATSUYAMA
- BEST ONSEN MATSUYAMA