This course takes you to Takamatsu, Matsuyama and Hiroshima, the main cities of Chūgoku and Shikoku.
Enjoy the different attractions of Takamatsu, gateway to Shikoku, Matsuyama with its castle and onsen, and Hiroshima, a city with two World Heritage Sites.
Cycling the Shimanami Kaidō is a great way to enjoy the dramatic scenery of the Seto Inland Sea.
4 nights and 5 days from Kansai International Airport
Hotel in Dōgo
01. Stroll around Dōgo
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.
Dōgo Giyaman Glass Museum presents many examples of valuable glass from the Edo to the Meiji and Taishō periods.
There’s also a café and restaurant in a wonderful location surrounded by a large pond and greenery.
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.
02. Dōgo experience (foot spa experience and kimono experience)
Foot spas and hand spas are located in various places such as the foot spa in Hōjōen plaza near Dōgo Onsen Station and in the lobbies of various hotels. You can enjoy Dōgo Onsen water free of charge.
At the foot spa in Hōjōen plaza, there’s a space for taking off shoes and socks.
Some hotels provide towels as a service.
Also the rental kimono shop in Dōgo Onsen Station will dress you up in a beautiful antique kimono of your choice.
They’re also available for men.
Why not try walking around the town in kimono?
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.
About 11 minutes by tram or Botchan Train
Ōkaidō Shopping Arcade
About 5 minutes’ walk to Matsuyama Castle Cable Car Station
Matsuyama Castle Cable Car Station
(There are coin-operated lockers in the station.)
The cable car takes about 3 minutes and the chairlift about 6 minutes
※You can get to the castle by cable car, chairlift or on foot.
It’s about 10 minutes’ walk from the cable car to the castle tower.
03. 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 back.
Return to the station by cable car or chairlift.
Matsuyama Castle Cable Car Station
About 10 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. 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.
About 2 minutes’ walk
05. Ropeway Street and Ōkaidō (Shopping)
Ropeway Street is a particularly chic shopping district.
There are many shops selling mikan orange desserts, Imabari Towels and other products typical of Ehime.
The Ōkaidō Shopping Arcade is Matsuyama’s premier shopping district.
AEL Matsuyama which opened in 2015 is a shopping mall with restaurants, boutiques and a hotel. The arcade that starts here is lined with all sorts of shops.
The east of Ōkaidō is an entertainment district packed with restaurants and cafés.