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 Kansai International Airport
Hotel in Hiroshima
About 30 minutes by tram
Hiroshima Port (Ujina)
About 1 hour and 10 minutes by high-speed boat
Matsuyama Kankōkō Port
About 45 minutes by Matsuyama Kankōkō Port Limousine Bus
Dōgo Onsen Station
01. Dōgo Onsen (Lunch)
02. Stroll around Dōgo (Enman-ji Temple, Isaniwa Shrine, Ishite-ji Temple)
Dōgo is a compact area with many places of scenic beauty and historic interest and things to see. Isaniwa Shrine with its 135 stone steps is designated an important national cultural property. Its bright vermilion main building creates a beautiful impression. Enman-ji Temple with its giant white Buddha statue known as the Buddha of the Spring has many items said to bring luck. Ishite-ji is temple No. 51 on the Shikoku Pilgrimage. There are many important national cultural properties and national treasures here. The mandala caves behind the main hall are dark and spooky, and the strange atmosphere is very popular with visitors from overseas.
03. Dōgo Arcade
This shopping arcade links Dōgo Onsen Station and Dōgo Onsen Honkan. It’s lined with souvenir shops, restaurants and cafés and it’s a great place to find gifts. There’s also a shop offering goods from Studio Ghibli. 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. You can walk freely around the town of Dōgo wearing yukata provided by your ryokan or hotel.
04. Dōgo Onsen Honkan
Dōgo Onsen is said to be Japan’s oldest hot spring with a history going back about 3,000 years. Dōgo Onsen Honkan was rebuilt 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 on the roof. It’s the only onsen in Japan with a bathroom for the exclusive use of the Emperor, called the Yūshinden. Awarded three stars by the Michelin Green Guide Japan. There are four bathing courses, including just a bath, a bath and relaxation in the second-floor lounge, and a bath with a private room on the third floor. At night when light leaks from the building, the onsen generates its own special romance.