Matsuyama City`s Appeal
Matsuyama is a compact city with easy access to the city centre from Matsuyama Airport, Kankōkō Port, and JR Matsuyama Station. One of its main features is that transport infrastructure like the suburban trains, trams and buses make it very easy to get about. For tourists, the Botchan Train is very popular. This train is a replica of steam trains that ran about 130 years ago during the Meiji period. The train with its piercing whistle is one of the sights of the city. The central area of Matsuyama is quite flat, so getting about by bicycle is easy. We recommend using a rental cycle.
‣Matsuyama, castle town
Matsuyama’s most distinctive feature is its castle, located right in the centre of town. Around the castle are shopping areas and government offices, reflecting the history of a flourishing castle town. As you wander around the city centre, you can see the beautiful castle from every angle.Today, there are only 12 castle towers in Japan dating from the Edo period (1603 to 1868). Matsuyama Castle is one of them. The current keep was rebuilt in 1854. It’s uncommon to find a Japanese city with a historic fortress in close proximity to a modern town centre.
‣Japan’s oldest hot spring
Dōgo Onsen is one of Japan’s most famous spas. Dōgo Onsen is said to have been discovered 3,000 years ago when a white heron cured its injured leg in its waters. In 596, an Imperial prince Shōtoku Taishi visited the area and was impressed by the hot spring. Over its long history, many people have enjoyed the waters of Dōgo, and it’s been passed down through the generations as a treasure of Matsuyama. The current Dōgo Onsen Honkan was rebuilt in 1894 and it’s the first public bathhouse to be designated an important national cultural property. The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry has also recognized it as Heritage of Industrial Modernization. Inside the wooden structure, the rooms, corridors and stairs form a fascinating labyrinth. This strange and mysterious building is said to have been a model for the film Spirited Away. Recently, Dōgo Onsen Honkan has been the centrepiece of an art entertainment program. Come and explore this amazing bathhouse combining history and art for yourself. Only in Matsuyama.
Enveloped by the sea and mountains, with its warm climate, Matsuyama is a treasure house of delicious things. You can try seafood freshly netted in the Seto Inland Sea as sashimi, tempura or many other methods of preparation. Sea bream, scad and pilchards are particularly prized, and they’re used by some of the best restaurants in Japan. From inland, the juicy fruit grown on the sun-drenched slopes is highly recommended. Matsuyama produces so many citrus fruits that it’s known as ‘the mandarin kingdom’. Some of the many varieties are unique to Matsuyama. The city is also the largest producer of kiwis. Locally produced vegetables are also excellent. There are five sake breweries in Matsuyama producing delicious, aromatic sake using traditional methods. Dōgo’s craft beer is also highly regarded.