The Japanese really love onsen (hot springs). Ehime Prefecture’s Dogo Onsen is known by many for being Japan’s oldest onsen as well the location of famed author Natsume Soseki’s novel “Botchan”. For this article on Dogo Onsen, I visited an inn called Taniya, a place I would gladly recommend to anyone – both experienced travelers to Dogo and onsen newcomers alike.
Taniya’s Old-Fashioned Lobby
While the well-trimmed garden has a refreshing atmosphere and is packed with plants and greenery, there is also a delightful pond. A short captivating walk through the garden brings you to the lobby.
One of the walls of the lobby is completely covered in books. While titles are as varied as sightseeing in Ehime, haiku, jazz and vegetables, there are also plenty of literary works and children’s books. The selection seems highly influenced by the owner’s taste. Guests are free to borrow books and read them in their rooms, so any visiting book lovers are sure to have a great time. The gentle tick-tock of the lobby clock makes it seem like time moves very slowly.
The Detached Room – Hatsune
In the main building, Taniya only has enough accommodation for 7 groups of guests per day. However, it also has a detached room named ‘Hatsune’. Each regular room can accommodate 2-3 people, but as many as 4 can stay in Hatsune. It also has an indoor bath for guests to soak away the stresses of daily life and relax.
Furthermore, the detached room even has a study; the perfect place to bring a book from the lobby library, or if you’re feeling particularly poetic, to compose haiku. As a matter of fact, this is the very place I wrote the draft for this article. The time I spent here was very lovely indeed. The interior of every room is different, so I would like to introduce them all, but I suppose that will have to wait till the next time I come to visit.
Warming Body & Mind In The Outdoor Bath
I spent my time relaxing until evening, and then decided to go for a soak in one of the outdoor baths before dinner. (There are three that guests can reserve here at the inn.) The water is really nice and it’s a great recommendation for families!
Can you guess what’s down there? It’s actually a hot-spring-water face-moisturizer, and the first of its kind in Dogo. The hot water below releases steam to moisturize the skin. This will surely make any woman beautiful and happy. Your spectacles get cloudy right away, so be sure to remove them first!
Cuisine Made with Fresh Setouchi Vegetables
After a refreshing bath the long-awaited dinner arrives. The meal consists of freshly caught fish sashimi in addition to various soup dishes, rice and dessert. A vibrant display of delicious delights.
Breakfast the following morning is eaten by an open hearth, and the Japanese course meal is very pleasant. As they were picked that very morning, the vegetables are fresh and juicy.
Taniya has a kitchen close to where they grow seasonal vegetables and fruits. The greens are quite shiny, aren’t they? Time passes slowly when you enjoy a meal by the open hearth…
Sadly, I couldn’t stay here for more than just the one night. The landlady, Ms. Takebayashi, saw me off as I left to continue on with the rest of my tour around Dogo Onsen. I am very thankful to her for the very pleasant stay I had and the travel information she gave me. If you ever go to Dogo to visit Dogo Onsen, the shopping streets, or just to do some sightseeing in the area, Taniya is the perfect base as it’s located in the midst of everything and offers a pleasurable time to those who stay over.
Please visit Dogo and try out this new way of enjoying the area.
Address: 2-4 Dogoyunomachi, Matsuyama City, Ehime Prefecture
Tel. operating hours: 8:00 – 18:00, 21:00 – 24:00 ※Reservations available online
The price for the room ‘Hatsune’ is 22,290 yen (1 night – incl. 2 meals).
Note: Prices on days before holidays increase by 2,160 yen.
Setouchi Finder Photo-writer: Sakiko Mizuguchi
Sakiko Mizuguchi I was born in 1978 and grew up in Shizuoka Prefecture. I used to work in marketing at an Internet company in Tokyo, but in 2014, when my first child reached school age, we moved to Hiroshima, my husband's hometown. We now have two children. I love camping and bonfires, Setouchi fruits and the beauty of the islands. Setouchi is rich in natural experiences and it's easy to raise children here. I spend my days enjoying life together with my children.
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