Matsuyama Travel Guide   松山

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From the top of a hill, the castle of Matsuyama watches over the city and the Seto Inland Sea.

From the top of a hill, the castle of Matsuyama watches over the city and the Seto Inland Sea.

The Saka no Ue no museum Kumo, based on the novel by Ryotaro Shiba and designed by Tadao Ando.

The Saka no Ue no museum Kumo, based on the novel by Ryotaro Shiba and designed by Tadao Ando.

Northwest Matsuyama, Dogo Onsen spa that annually receives over 1.5 million visitors.

Northwest Matsuyama, Dogo Onsen spa that annually receives over 1.5 million visitors.

Shiko-cool

Its iconic castle overlooking the inland sea, or its numerous hot springs: what is the symbol of this town in Shikoku?

On the coast of one of the smaller major Japanese islands, Matsuyama can be easily visited from other popular cities located on the other side of the inland sea, Hiroshima in the north and Beppu (Oita) in the West. It also has nothing to envy them: proud of its castle, famous for its Dogo hot springs, young and dynamic, Matsuyama alone is a great reason to go to Shikoku.

Castle and Stunning Views

Before becoming a military capital, Matsuyama and its surroundings were a significant area for Buddhism. For this reason, you will find the 88 Shikoku temples, famous for pilgrimage, such as Ishite-ji, built in honor of the monk Kukai, founder of the Garan temple complex at Koyasan.

It is in 1603 that the city becomes a strategic place in the great province of Iyo, as the Matsudaira clan build a castle on the Katsu hill. Matsuyama-jo is now one of the most visited attractions nearby, offering stunning views of the city and the inland sea, although it lost two floors during its reconstruction (1820). Going down the west side, you can stroll in the lovely Ninomaru garden, built on the ruins of the former stately home and the small Bansui-so park.

Meiji in Miyazaki

We leave the site by the South for a tour of the beautiful museum Saka no Ue no Kumo, designed by Tadao Ando, ​​who tells of the emergence of Japan on the international stage during the Meiji era. From here you can stroll into the shopping street bordering the southeast flank of the hill (next to Okaido tram stop), which offers good food (Matsuyama specialties: Botchan dango, cakes inspired by the famous castella of Nagasaki, and goshiki somen - 5 color noodles) and nice shops (ceramics, antiques, Ehime cotton).

But perched as high as it is, the castle can never steal the show from what all the tourists come to see in Matsuyama: Dogo Onsen, hot springs said to be several centuries old, legend says that it's the oldest hot spring in Japan ... and has even inspired Hayao Miyazaki's Spirited Away!