A medium-sized city of over 500,000 people, Matsuyama is a castle town that is known for its exquisite Dogo Hot Spring complex. If you have seen internationally acclaimed animated film “Spirited Away” by Hayao Miyazaki, you might remember the exotic bath were the main character Chihiro worked. That piece on fantasy was born of the reality of Dogo Hot Spring. It is a must-do for people all over Japan.
After a visit to the hot spring, take a stroll over to Matsuyama Castle. Originally built in the 1600’s, the castle has seen its fair share of struggle. Situated on the top of a mountain, it can be seen from many points around the city. The massive walls surrounding the castle mirror the contour of the mountain, following a path to the summit.
It has been painstakingly restored and maintained, giving the visitor the pleasure of experiencing the perfect marriage of stone and wood. Matsuyama Castle Ninomaru Historical Garden provides a window into medieval Japan and the Noh theater performances there will transport you to a bygone era.
Matsuyama is not without its surprises. Both Matsuyama Central Park and Ehime Children’s Castle are influenced by European Medieval and Renaissance architecture. Their fort and castle structures are ideal for a relaxing walk.
If you have never seen a giraffe up close, visit the Ehime Prefecture Tobe Zoo. With its expertise and variety of animals, it is heralded as the best that West Japan has to offer.
Isaniha Shrine’s rich vermilion structure attracts visitors from around the country. This architectural wonder is both powerful in appearance and delicately constructed to show its founder’s passion for mounted archery.
Matsuyama is a city that likes to celebrate. Whether you come in spring, summer or autumn there is a festival on the way. Come and watch or join in. Matsuyama is waiting for you.
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