Dogo Onsen has over 3000 years of history, as mentioned in the Man'yōshū text, written circa 759.
The historical hot spring
Dogo onsen’s history dates back around 3000 years, which is introduced in the oldest existing collection of Japanese poetry “Man'yōshū”. Dogo Onsen is also a main setting in the renowned novel “Botchan” by one of the most established novelists, Soseki Natsume.
The current Dogo Onsen main building was built in 1894, founded by the donation called for by the mayor at the time. The locals who invested into the project were given unique perks at that time, and some donors were even given lifetime onsen passes that could be handed down through their family! There is a small museum in the building that displays some of these historical tickets as well as the photographs and other memento celebrating Soseki Natsume and his novel.
The architectural intrigue of Dogo Onsen
The main building is an architectural wonder, joining what was originally seven different structures. This is one of the reasons for the unusual features in the building. There are hallways and staircases in odd locations, and the ground floor is different in the front and back of the structure. In fact, there are roof features inside that are only used on the exterior of buildings in traditional Japanese architecture, showing clearly that the building now houses some of the areas that were once outdoors. In designing the structure, the builders took care to ensure that no primary structural elements were positioned above the onsen waters. This was to protect the structural integrity of the building, which was certain to rot after years of absorbing moisture from the steam.
The therapeutic waters of Dogo Onsen were threatened on several occasions, and the spring nearly stopped in 1946 after the massive earthquake. The locals developed new boring methods using diamond cutters, hydraulic drills, and diagonal shafts, and were able to restore the flow of hot spring water to triple its previous quantity. This is the story how Dogo Onsen that is currently popular among the international guests has been protected. The statue of the leader is displayed overlooking Dogo Onsen to honor his contribution.
Please do not forget to capture the photos appreciating this renowned hot spring.
It is so reasonable that Dogo Onsen is one of the famous hot spring resorts considering its history, unique structure and the fact that it has a special bathroom for the Imperial Family.
If you are visiting Ehime, Dogo Onsen is an absolute must
*Towel is used only for filming.
After a soak in the hot spring, head up to the lounge and relax with a cup of tea and a variety of sweet treats. While you are there, how about trying on a yukata robe for the first time?
For first-time visitors, we recommend the 840 yen course, a complete experience which includes entrance to the Kami-no-Yu bath and break-time in the Kami-no-Yu lounge on the 2nd floor.