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Matsuyama and Dogo Onsen

Soak in Samurai and Onsen Culture

A charming Samurai castle town and source of the oldest hot spring resort in Japan.

 

 

Discover Matsuyama and Dogo Onsen

Matsuyama is the largest city on Shikoku Island, a southern Japanese island that has remained relatively remote and maintains traditional culture, along with unspoiled vegetation as a result.

Matsuyama is home to an exceptional castle, located right in the heart of the city center. Matsuyama Castle is a flatland-mountain-style castle built in the early 17th century. The castle is one of only twelve castles to maintain their original tenshu or tower. The castle has been a protected National Historic site for over 70 years. The defense walls of the castle include the most complex systems in Japan, while the view from the top of the castle tower looks out over Matsuyama city, the Shikoku mountains, and the Seta Inland Sea. Inside the castle, find exhibitions of samurai costumes and armor, and even try some on yourself for an authentic samurai experience.  

Equally as famous as its connection to samurai and artists, Matsuyama is also well known for having one of the oldest hot springs in Japan. Dogo Onsen has a history leading back over 1000 years. Its popularity has endured throughout the centuries, with mentions in the Nihon Shoki, an ancient book on classical Japanese history, and famous guests ranging from Prince Shotoku to legendary writer Natsume Soseki. Each morning, a large drum is beaten at 6:30 am to celebrate the opening of the bathhouse. The bathhouse is decorated with emblems of the egret (a heron) as legends regarding the heron’s connection to the bathhouse are a significant part of Dogo Onsen. Take time out for a soak in the springs with the locals or dip your feet in the outdoor footbaths to take away any aches and pains after a long day sightseeing.  This resort town is completely immersed in the culture of hot spring bathing, so expect to see locals and visitors alike wandering the streets in the traditional yukata robe, following a dip.  

 

 

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