Archive4 Hours Trips
4 Hours in Matsuyama Castle Tour & Hot Spring Soak: the Best of Old Japan!
4 Hours in Matsuyama
Sightseeing in Matsuyama
Castle Tour & Hot Spring Soak: the Best of Old Japan!
- Hit the sightseeing highlights, including Important Cultural Properties and Michelin Guide-starred attractions.
- Immerse yourself in the atmosphere of Old Japan (castles, hot springs, temple pilgrimage, haiku poetry)
- Stroll historic streets, ride the nostalgic streetcar, take a rickshaw
1. Matsuyama Castle
110 minutes (Admission: 1,020 yen)
A prominent landmark in the heart of the city, Matsuyama Castle merits two stars in the Michelin Japan Guide. It boasts one of just 12 original castle donjons still standing in Japan, and was the last ever to be built in authentic period architectural style. Many of its structures are designated as Important Cultural Properties of Japan. Today it is filled with exhibits of weapons and artifacts, and visitors can even try on samurai armour. The donjon offers sweeping views of the whole city, and even islands in the glittering Seto Inland Sea.
★Invade Matsuyama Castle with your MICE event!
Matsuyama Castle can serve as a truly unique venue for your reception or banquet!
2. Botchan Train
10 minutes (300 yen)
Natsume Soseki's Botchan, one of Japan's best-loved novels, features a "small, matchbox-like" steam train ridden by the protagonist of the book's title. This became the name of a Matsuyama narrow-gauge steam train, which began service in 1888 and carried passengers for 67 years. The line was restored in 2001 to its present form. Although it originally ran on coal, the restored Botchan Train has a much more environmentally friendly diesel engine, and spews steam rather than smoke from its chimney.
3. Hojoen Square: Foot Bath and Botchan Karakuri (Marionette) Clock
15 minutes (Free)
In Hojoen Square, right in front of Dogo Onsen Station, is an iron pot once used at the hot spring resort's main building. Now it serves to send hot spring water gurgling into a public foot bath—try soaking your own tired feet if you get a chance! Relics from this ancient hot spring are everywhere around this popular and atmospheric spot.
Also, every hour from 8 am to 10 pm in the square, the Botchan Karakuri (Marionette) Clock puts on a show—clockwork figures enact a scene from the much-loved novel Botchan to the accompaniment of music.
4. Dogo Onsen Honkan (Hot Spring Resort Main Bathhouse)
30 minutes (Admission: 410 - 1,550 yen; fee varies depending on bath visited and respective charges for tours and use of facilities)
This is Japan's oldest hot spring bathing resort, with a history stretching back 3,000 years. Not only does it offer superb, natural hot spring water, but the main bathhouse is an architectural gem, designated an Important Cultural Property of Japan. It has three stars in the Michelin Guide to Japan. The resort includes the Yushinden, a spectacular villa with bathing facilities formerly for the exclusive use of the Imperial Family. After changing into your yukata bathrobe, relax over tea and Japanese-style confections, and then see the sights of Dogo Onsen the old-fashioned way: from a rickshaw. Or just stroll Dogo Haikara-dori Street, which runs from Dogo Onsen Station to the Dogo Onsen Honkan and is lined with shops selling souvenirs and local delicacies of Matsuyama and the rest of Ehime Prefecture. It's like a retail extension of the resort itself, where crowds of onsen guests walk and shop, decked out in their resort robes.