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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

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

Hotel in Dōgo


Dōgo Onsen Station

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 in time to the Meiji period.

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About 11 minutes by Botchan Train or tram

Ōkaidō Shopping Arcade

About 5 minutes’ walk to Matsuyama Castle Cable Car Station

Matsuyama Castle Cable Car Station

You can get to the castle by cable car, chairlift or on foot.
(There are coin-operated lockers in the station.)

The cable car takes about 3 minutes and the chairlift about 6 minutes. It’s about 10 minutes’ walk from the cable car to the castle tower.

01. 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, with a fantastic view of the streets of the city and Mt. Ishizuchi 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.

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It’s about 10 minutes’ walk back. Return to the station by cable car or chairlift.

Matsuyama Castle Cable Car Station

About 10 minutes’ walk

02. 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. The building is an important national cultural property. Its left and right asymmetry reflects the Japanese aesthetic sense, and the pale stone contrasts beautifully with the trees around it. The Saka no Ue no Kumo Museum is dedicated to the novel Saka no Ue no Kumo by the renowned Japanese novelist Ryōtarō Shiba. You can learn about Japan in the Meiji period through the lives of the protagonists. The building was designed by the famous architect Tadao Andō. Multilingual guides are available.

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About 2 minutes’ walk

03. Ōkaidō Shopping Arcade and Ropeway Street (Lunch)

About 13 minutes by tram or Botchan Train from the Ōkaidō tram stop

JR Matsuyama Station

About 25 minutes by JR Yosan Line express train

JR Uchiko Station

By rental cycle or on foot

04. Old Streets of Yōkaichi and Gokoku

These nostalgic streets of old merchant houses, storehouses and private homes were built from the end of the Edo to the Meiji and Taishō periods. It’s a nationally designated Important Preservation District for Groups of Traditional Buildings. Many of the private houses are still in use as homes. The design of the houses is very interesting, and there are lots of souvenir shops and Japanese cake shops to enjoy.

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Uchiko-za Theatre

05. Uchiko-za Theatre

This theatre was a popular attraction for local people in the Taishō period. Scheduled for demolition, it was restored according to the wishes of the residents, and now it’s used for diverse cultural events. Various stage machinery is located under the stage, and all of its functions as a theatre have been preserved. It’s an important national cultural property.

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About 8 minutes’ walk

JR Uchiko Station

About 25 minutes by express train on the JR Yosan Line

JR Matsuyama Station

About 13 minutes by tram to the Ōkaidō tram stop

06. Matsuyama City Centre (Shopping, dinner)

Matsuyama (Stay)