Recommended course 1Matsuyama / Kyōto / Hiroshima

This course allows plenty of time to experience the charms of Matsuyama, a beautiful provincial castle and spa town.

Nearby towns producing ceramics, and with streets of old buildings are also impressive. Hiroshima is just across the Seto Inland Sea with easy access to Kyōto, making this a Japanese journey packed with charm.

4 nights, 5 days from Haneda Airport

  1. Day 1
  2. Day 2
  3. Day 3
  4. Day 4

Haneda Airport

About 1 hour and 30 minutes by plane

Matsuyama Airport

About 30 minutes by Matsuyama Airport Limousine Bus

Ōkaidō Shopping Arcade

About 5 minutes’ walk to Matsuyama Castle Cable Car Station

01. Matsuyama Castle Cable Car Station

You can get to the castle by cable car, chairlift or on foot. You can choose the cable car or the lift for the same price. This is one of the unusual features of Matsuyama Castle.
(There are coin-operated lockers in the station. )

The cable car takes about 3 minutes and the chairlift about 6 minutes

02. Matsuyama Castle

Matsuyama Castle on top of the 132 m-high Mt. Katsuyama took second place in TripAdvisor’s Most Satisfying Japanese Castles ranking for 2014. Located roughly in the middle of the plain, you can see the white walls of the castle tower from just about everywhere in the city centre, making it Matsuyama’s landmark.

From the castle tower, you get a 360° view of the Matsuyama Plain, Mt. Ishizuchi, the highest mountain in western Japan, and Iyonada in the distance. Inside the castle there are displays of valuable artefacts such as swords and armour from the Warring States period. On the first floor of the castle tower, there’s a corner where you can try on armour.


It’s about 10 minutes’ walk from the cable car to the castle tower.

It’s about 10 minutes’ walk back.

Return to the station by cable car or chairlift.

The cable car takes about 3 minutes and the chairlift about 6 minutes

Matsuyama Castle Cable Car Station


03. Ropeway Street and
Ōkaidō Shopping Arcade (Lunch)

Ropeway Street to the north of the Ōkaidō tram stop features a winding road and old-fashioned streetlamps. There are rows of shops selling local products such as the famous Imabari Towel brand and sweets made from citrus. The face hole boards in front of the Matsuyama Castle cable car station are popular with visitors. South of the Ōkaidō tram stop is the Ōkaidō Shopping Arcade. This is Matsuyama’s main shopping area, packed with eateries, apparel stores and so on.

It has a long history, being formed in the Edo period (1603 to 1868).



About 2 minutes’ walk

04. Bansuisō Villa and
Saka no Ue no Kumo Museum

Located at the southern foot of the castle mountain, Bansuisō Villa was built in 1922 for a descendant of the former Matsuyama Domain in the style of a French château. Its left and right asymmetry reflects the Japanese aesthetic sense, and the pale stone contrasts beautifully with the trees around it. The building is an important national cultural property.

The Saka no Ue no Kumo Museum is dedicated to the novel Saka no Ue no Kumo by the renowned Japanese novelist Ryōtarō Shiba. Through the lives of the protagonists, you can learn about Japan in the Meiji period (1868 to 1912). The building was designed by the famous architect Tadao Andō. Multilingual guides are available.


Ōkaidō Shopping Arcade tram stop

Trams are convenient for getting around the city centre. The Botchan steam train is popular with tourists. In the past, coal-fired steam engines were used, but today’s trains are diesel replicas. The carriage fittings and uniforms of the conductors are also old-fashioned. It feels like you’ve gone back 100 years in time.


About 11 minutes by Botchan Train or tram

Dōgo Onsen Station

There are coin-operated lockers in the bus stop in front of the station, and near the entrance to the Dōgo Tourist Office.


05. Dōgo Arcade

This shopping arcade links Dōgo Onsen Station and Dōgo Onsen Honkan. It’s lined with souvenir shops, restaurants and cafés. It’s great place to find souvenirs. Near the entrance to the shopping arcade at the Dōgo Onsen Station end is a mechanical clock with characters from the novel Botchan, and amusing face hole boards featuring the same characters.


06. Rickshaw rides

There’s no better way to enjoy the feeling of being on holiday. You can take a rickshaw from in front of Dōgo Onsen Honkan and at the entrance to Dōgo Arcade. There are various courses – 10 minutes around Dōgo Arcade, 20 minutes around Dōgo, or about an hour to Ishite-ji Temple.


07. Dōgo Onsen Honkan

Boasting a history going back about 3,000 years, Dōgo Onsen is Japan’s oldest spa. Dōgo Onsen Honkan was built in 1894. Along with Matsuyama Castle, it’s a symbol of Matsuyama City. It’s said to have been one of the models for the spirit bathhouse in the Studio Ghibli animation Spirited Away.

The distinctive building has three storeys. Three times a day, a drum is beaten in the Shinrokaku. It’s the only onsen in Japan with a bathroom for the exclusive use of the Emperor, called the Yūshinden. At night when light leaks from the building, the onsen generates its own special romance. A paper guide in several languages is provided for foreign visitors.



Hotel in Dōgo