As my last unexplored place of Japan’s four major islands, I was excited to travel to Shikoku when the time for my first time arrived. Shikoku consists of four prefectures; Ehime, Kagawa, Tokushima and Kochi. This time I visited Dogo hot spring in Ehime Prefecture and here‘s a list of where to go in Ehime.
Dogo Hot Spring
Dogo Onsen is one of Japan’s oldest hot springs and since ancient times it is believed to heal illnesses. Dogo Onsen Honkan, built in 1894, is a three-level wooden public bathhouse with a maze of stairways and rooms. The symbol of the building is a watchtower with red glass windows topped on the roof.
Matsuyama City is the neat and compact capital of Ehime Prefecture and it has prospered as a castle town of the Matsuyama clan, having produced many writers and novelists. Natsume Soseki, one Japanese literary giant, along with Haruki Murakami, was appointed as an English teacher and he lived in Matsuyama City for a year in 1895. He wrote “Botchan” based on his experience here in Matsuyama City in 1906. The small nature of the city makes it easy to get around and walking is your best option.
Uchiko town is located about 40 kilometers south of Matsuyama City. Distinguished by a canal and well-preserved houses, Uchiko is living evidence that the post Edo period flourished in Japan. Uchiko was once a prosperous center of wax and paper production. The main street is about 600 meters long and contains many old houses and storehouses with a picturesque townscape. This town is best explored on foot or by bicycle.
Uchiko-za theater was built in 1916 by the increasingly wealthy merchants and it was reopened after a lengthy reconstruction in 1985. You can still enjoy the glorious design and authentic atmosphere of the theater. The scale of the building is small but you can experience how performers and audiences interact while seated in the wooden seating areas.
How to get there & around
You can fly to Matsuyama Airport from Tokyo Haneda Airport or take an express bus for about six hours from Osaka Prefecture. If you’re planning on travelling around Shikoku, then I would definitely recommend hiring a rent-a-car to make the most out of your time.