Located in the center of Ehime and facing the Sea of Iyo in the Seto Inland Sea, Matsuyama is the largest city and the center of administration and economy on Shikoku. On the hill in the center of the city stands Matsuyama Castle, the symbol of the town. The castle and its surrounding area as a whole constitute a historic site park.
If you go up the steep wooden stairway to the top floor in the castle tower, you will get a panoramic view that includes Mt. Ishizuchi and the Sea of Iyo.
Dogo Hot Spring
In the late 19th century, a quaint wooden public hot spring building was constructed. A bathroom dedicated to only the Imperial Family was added, which is a unique place in Japan and you can visit it now. Around the public hot spring, there are many hotels. It is interesting to see that many hotel guests go to the public hot spring even though each hotel has its own one, and hotels encourage it. Therefore many people stroll around town in the evening, and shopping streets nearby are busy until late.
Shikoku is known as an island of pilgrimage. There are 88 Buddhist temples related to Kobodaishi, the founder of the Shingon Sect. It is said that if you visit all the 88 temples and then visit Koyasan in Wakayama Prefecture, your wish will come true. Nowadays, many people visit these temples using cars or tour buses, but about 5,000 people still go on foot like people did in the past. The total distance is more than 1,200 km and it will take 40 days if you walk 30 km per day. You can recognize the pilgrims easily because they wear white clothes.
If you go to Matsuyama from Tokyo, take Shinkansen (Bullet train) to Okayama (3.5 hours), then take the express train to Matsuyama (2.5 hours)