Dogo in Matsuyama City, Ehime Prefecture has become more and more popular recently thanks to its variety of fashionable shops and art.
Though Dogo was traditionally considered an expensive and luxurious destination by young travelers, times are changing and recently a number of guesthouses suitable for a variety of travelers have popped up.
While there are now more than 8 guesthouses in the Dogo area, one of the most successful is Sen Guesthouse. It’s getting excellent reviews on various travel sites around the web.
For this article, I visited Sen Guesthouse to try and find out the secret to its success.
Sen Guesthouse is located in a quiet residential area about 5 minutes walk from Dogo Onsen’s Main Building.
Featuring glass walls that let warming sunlight in, the entire first floor floor is a common area for everyone to use.
With green furniture and miscellaneous items scattered throughout, the rooms have a certain international charm.
Previously used as a leisure home, the building has been partially renovated and the layout changed to make better use of all the space.
The common areas have undergone a complete change, and the guest rooms have a pleasant traditional Japanese atmosphere. The most notable part of the guest rooms are their high-quality futon mattresses. As many pilgrims stay here, the futons and pillows are all low resilience. One night in this comfortable refined space is only 2,800 yen.
Days when the weather is pleasant should be spent on the rooftop, an area that offers excellent views of the city of Matsuyama. To facilitate this, hammocks have been installed in pairs.
This is the sunset as can be seen from the rooftop. Though not visible in this particular photograph, Matsuyama Castle is situated to the left. The scenery with the illuminated castle is also fantastic.
The common areas turn international in the evenings. Here you can mingle and chitchat with the other guests and get drinks from the bar at the front desk. Even shy people need not worry, as everyone gets a warm welcome from the staff and other guests.
These are the owners of the establishment, Matt and Noriko.
The two met through a combination of pilgrimage and guesthouse. As Dogo is perfect in both aspects, the couple chose Dogo as their location. Matt and Noriko have lots of experience with pilgrimages, and have even been on pilgrimages in countries such as Spain. They explain, “The best thing about the Shikoku Pilgrimage is by far the hospitality. We have many times been allowed to stay at people’s homes. We also travel a lot. If we don’t, we are bound to forget the needs and wishes of travelers.”
The two are the very epitome of hospitality, or omotenashi, as it is known in Japanese. They are destined without doubt to continue to receive great support from their guests from all across the globe.
Their hospitality is the product of the culture and traditions of the Shikoku Pilgrimage, and the Sen Guesthouse is a sacred grove where guests can experience first-hand the pure warmth of the Iyo area.
Make Sen Guesthouse your first stop on your journey through Shikoku.
Address: 4-14 Dogotakocho, Matsuyama City, Ehime Prefecture
Check-in: 16:00 – 22:00
Pricing: Dormitory 2,800 yen per person. 3-person room 3,100 yen per person.
Closed: No regular holidays (please check the homepage for more information)
Setouchi Finder Photo-writer: Eri Hatano
Eri Hatano Born in 1978 in Miyazaki and currently living in Okayama, Eri used to work as a full-time newspaper journalist. She is now independent and writes for a number of publications across a variety of genres. As her husband's job requires him to regularly relocate to different regions of Japan, most recently from Ehime to Okayama, Eri has for the last several years enjoyed living in the Setouchi area. She says that Setouchi has a lot to offer particularly in terms of food and culture, which are both very well-established and can't be found anywhere else in Japan. Eri says that she will try to reflect her fascination with the Setouchi area with her words and pictures via Setouchi Finder.
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