Explore Matsuyama (an historic route)
Take the local Botchan train to see the best of Matsuyama. This is the perfect route for history lovers!
START
JR Matsuyama Station
↓Approx. 20 min by taxi
1

Kumanosan Ishite-ji Temple

An impressively mysterious and sacred place
  • Kumanosan Ishite-ji Temple
  • Kumanosan Ishite-ji Temple
  • Kumanosan Ishite-ji Temple
  • Kumanosan Ishite-ji Temple
This temple is No. 51 of the 88 temples of the Shikoku Pilgrimage. Many tourists come to visit the famously mysterious temple in addition to those on the pilgrimage. The temple is home to a number of famous buildings such as the Niomon Gate, a designated national treasure, and the temple’s main hall, bell tower and pagoda, designated Important Cultural Properties. Other popular sights include a goddess for safe childbirth, a treasure house, the Mantra cave, and an inner temple. There is something for everyone at Ishite-ji and something new to discover with each visit.
Approx. 15 min on foot
2

Isaniwa Shrine

An architectural masterpiece reflecting the elegance of the Momoyama period
  • Isaniwa Shrine
  • Isaniwa Shrine
  • Isaniwa Shrine
  • Isaniwa Shrine
  • Isaniwa Shrine
  • Isaniwa Shrine
  • Isaniwa Shrine
  • Isaniwa Shrine
  • Isaniwa Shrine
After climbing the 135 stone steps, a bright vermillion building catches your eye. Isaniwa Shrine is one of the three Hachiman-zukuri-style architectural works and is designated an Important Cultural Property. Passing through the gorgeous double-storey gate, you will be stunned by the magnificent main shrine building with gold-leafed columns, curving beams and beams with engraved decorations. The shrine has a number of documents on Japanese mathematics displayed along its corridors demonstrating the popularity of Japanese mathematics among the local people of Matsuyama.
Approx. 5 min on foot
3

Dogo Onsen Honkan

A famous Onsen with 3,000 years of history
  • Dogo Onsen Honkan
  • Dogo Onsen Honkan
  • Dogo Onsen Honkan
  • Dogo Onsen Honkan
  • Dogo Onsen Honkan
  • Dogo Onsen Honkan
  • Dogo Onsen Honkan
  • Dogo Onsen Honkan
  • Dogo Onsen Honkan
  • Dogo Onsen Honkan
Dogo Onsen Honkan is thought to be the oldest hot spring in Japan. It is mentioned in the ancient texts of the Kojiki and Manyoshu. The main building, a three-story castle-style wooden structure, has been designated an Important Cultural Property of Japan. This bathhouse is an iconic feature of Matsuyama in the novel “Botchan” and many other masterpieces of literature and film. After enjoying the smooth hot spring water, visitors can put on a Yukata robe and stroll around the culture rich local streets to experience the spirit of this Onsen town. A new annex building, “Asuka-no-Yu”, wich adopts the architectural style of the 6th to 8th centuries, was opened in September 2017.
Approx. 2 min on foot
4

Dogo Haikara Dori Street (Dogo Shopping Street)

Take a stroll around this hot spring town in a traditional Yukata
  • Dogo Haikara Dori Street (Dogo Shopping Street)
  • Dogo Haikara Dori Street (Dogo Shopping Street)
  • Dogo Haikara Dori Street (Dogo Shopping Street)
  • Dogo Haikara Dori Street (Dogo Shopping Street)
The shopping street adjacent to the Dogo Onsen Honkan is known as “Dogo Haikara Dori”. The street is lined with souvenir shops and eateries catering to tourists, most of them open from 9am to 10pm. The street connects Dogo Onsen Honkan to Dogo Onsen station is a great area to enjoy strolling around in a traditional Yukata robe. The “Dogo Mura Meguri” is an activity sponsored by a union of the street’s businesses. Collect all 30 stamps from places around Dogo and bring the completed stamp book to the Dogo Village Office at the Dogo Tourist Information Centre and you will receive an honorary villager certificate, a ticket for bathing at the Dogo Onsen Honkan and a local souvenir.
Approx. 2 min on foot
5

Botchan Train

A restored locomotive “as tiny as a matchbox”
  • Botchan Train
  • Botchan Train
  • Botchan Train
The original locomotive was active and loved by the locals for 67 years from 1888. It came to be known as “Botchan Ressha” after the main character of a famous novel by Soseki Natsume. The original steam locomotives puffing black smoke have been remodelled as diesel-powered replicas. Drivers dress as they did 100 years ago transporting visitors back to an earlier era. The train runs from Matsuyama city centre to Dogo Onsen offering passengers a nostalgic ride and a view of town from the train window.
Approx. 1 min on foot to Dogo Onsen Station, approx. 10 min by the Iyo Railway Botchan train to Okaido Station and approx. 1 min on foot
6

Matsuyama Ropeway Shopping Street

A pretty townscape based on a concept of “Nagomi: Peacefulness”
  • Matsuyama Ropeway Shopping Street
  • Matsuyama Ropeway Shopping Street
  • Matsuyama Ropeway Shopping Street
  • Matsuyama Ropeway Shopping Street
  • Matsuyama Ropeway Shopping Street
The Matsuyama Ropeway Shopping Street is at the foot of Matsuyama Castle, leading to the cable car station for the castle. The relaxing street is lined with chic independent shops. From the widely known “Uwajima Taimeshi” to the leading brand “Imabari Towel”, the large variety of eateries and souvenir shops here offer a uniquely Ehime experience. A specialty Mikan shop is popular with tourists keen to try a cup of Mikan juice uniquely served from the tap. It is one of the few universally designed shopping streets in Japan and offers a relaxing shopping atmosphere.
Approx. 15 min on foot

7

Matsuyama Castle

A famous castle of the Setouchi Region
  • Matsuyama Castle
  • Matsuyama Castle
  • Matsuyama Castle
  • Matsuyama Castle
  • Matsuyama Castle
  • Matsuyama Castle
Matsuyama Castle, in the style of the Momoyama period, is one of Japan’s few original surviving castles. Its 21 buildings are listed as Important Cultural Properties, and the castle is regarded as one of the three best ‘Renritsu-shiki Hirayama-jiro’ (Renritsu-shiki: an architectural style where the top castle tower is in the centre with smaller towers on either side; Hirayama-jiro: a castle built on a hill on a plain). The towers are all connected to defend the main castle building. The castle is a well-known symbol of Matsuyama and is written about in the prologue of the novel, “Clouds Above the Hill” by Ryotaro Shiba. It has been and will be guarding the city of Matsuyama for centuries!
Approx. 10 min on foot
8

Bansuiso

Get a taste of upper class life in this luxurious salon
  • Bansuiso
  • Bansuiso
  • Bansuiso
  • Bansuiso
Bansuiso is a Renaissance-style villa built as a second home of Earl Sadakoto Hisamatsu, a descendant of the former Matsuyama clan. It has hosted the Imperial Family and been a popular venue for high society notables of various artistic fields. Making a good use of the gorgeous architecture of the time, it continues to host a range of events and exhibitions today. Although located in the city centre, the villa allows visitors to relax in the charming retro rooms isolated from the hustle and bustle going on outside.
GOAL