Before Dōgo Onsen was swallowed up by Matsuyama city, it was the oldest spa town in Japan with a history going back over a thousand years. It’s been visited by many celebrated people who come to bathe in its healing waters and leave their mark on the area. On this walking tour, I’ll show you some of Dōgo’s main sights and point out the details that most visitors miss.
We’ll meet Masaoka Shiki, Japan’s greatest modern haiku poet, who also introduced baseball to the country. We’ll also learn why Botchan, a character in a Natsume Sōseki novel, seems to pop up everywhere. We’ll visit the birthplace of Ippen, the dancing priest, and we’ll cast a glance at the prostitutes who set up shop here.
At a trot, you can finish this tour in an hour or so. But if you stop by the baths, museums and shops along the way, pause to take some photos, or adjourn to try some sake in the brewery, you could easily spend all day discovering everything that Dōgo has to offer.