Matsuyama audio tour: The Best of Dōgo Onsen: Poets, Prostitutes, and Priests

The Best of Dōgo Onsen: Poets, Prostitutes, and Priests

Walking Tour

120 mins

About the Tour

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.

Tour Producer


Rod Walters

I've lived in Japan for about 30 years. During that time, I've learned much about the places I've lived and worked. I hope you enjoy my take on the Japan that I present through these VoiceMap tours.

Major Landmarks

  • Dōgo Onsen Honkan

  • Asuka no Yu

  • Isaniwa Shrine

Directions to Starting Point

Start at the Dōgo Tourist Information Centre just inside the shopping arcade facing Dōgo Onsen Station.

Show Directions
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Places to stop along the way

If you want to bathe in the onsen, you can stop at Dōgo Onsen Honkan, Asuka no Yu Onsen, or Tsubaki no Yu. The tour visits Minakuchi Sake Brewery, and the brewery restaurant Nikitatsu-an is a good place for lunch.

Best time of day

Any time from 9 am to 5 pm is good.


If you're doing this tour when it's warm, be sure to drink plenty of water. Heat stroke is a real risk in Japan.


Preview mode limited to first 3 locations.
The Best of Dōgo Onsen: Poets, Prostitutes, and Priests