IMMERSE IN HISTORY AT DOGO ONSEN
The oldest hot spring in Japan, Dogo Onsen, is located in the city of Matsuyama, Ehime Prefecture on the island of Shikoku. The history of Dogo Onsen goes back over 3,000 years. It is not only the oldest but it is also Japan’s first National Important Cultural Property thanks to its wooden structure.
Since ancient times, bathing in the onsen is found to be restorative, relaxing and rejuvenating for the body, mind and soul. Some of the benefits include soothing aching joints and muscles, and beautification such as improving the quality of one’s skin and youthfulness – traits that are very favourable to Japanese women, young and old – and is also regarded by the locals as one of the best natural skincare available.
Welcome to Dogo Onsen
Dogo Onsen’s healing properties was apparently made popular by two well-known legends – about an egret, and a stone called Tama no ishi – that became significant symbols of Dogo Onsen. The egret was said to have soaked his injured shin every day in the onsen until it became well, and people who saw it followed and their health improved. Another legend has it that an ailing god who was made to go into the onsen by another god became better, and had danced on a stone where he left his footprint. The Tama no ishi is said to be that stone, and is now exhibited at Dogo Onsen.
Up until today, Dogo Onsen continues to be a popular attraction not only for the locals, but for tourists alike; and is almost always crowded at peak times, such as in the early evening before dinner.
On the third floor of Dogo Onsen, you can use private tatami rooms for relaxation.
Dogo Onsen is famous for Botchan Dango which is a traditional Japanese dessert of three skewered rice dumplings coloured with green tea, egg yolk and red bean.
Kami no Yu (Bath of the Gods) is the main bath of Dogo Onsen.
Enjoy the Dogo Onsen Area
The area surrounding Dogo Onsen – usually crowded with visitors strolling around in their yukata and giving it the feel of a resort town – has a lot to offer. Guided tours on rickshaws and buses are also available to sightseeing sites nearby such as the Shiki Memorial Museum, and Matsuyama Castle.
Matsuyama Castle is registered as one of the Important Cultural Properties of Japan.
In front of the Dogo Onsen station, there is a public foot bath for visitors to rest their tired feet.
Every hour from 8am to 10pm, the Botchan Karakuri Clock features little figures from Natsume Soseki’s novel, Botchan.
Dogo Shopping Arcade is decorated with ornaments by different Japanese artists each year.
Botchan Train is not only the first railway in Shikoku, but is also the third private railway in Japan.
Click to Locate Dogo Onsen
1. Dogo Onsen is easily accessible from central Matsuyama by train, and has regular bus services from both air and ferry ports.
2. If you wish to know more about Dogo Onsen, please visit Onsen Ryokan Cooperative Association's website: http://www.dogo.or.jp/pc/
3. The Dogo Art Festival is held every year from April to August.