One of Japan’s most well-known hot spring areas, Dogo Onsen is also known for Soseki Natsume’s portrayal of it in his novel, “Botchan”.
With the Dogo Onsen main building as the center, a culture of hot spring tourism grew in the surrounding area.
Although there are numerous hot spring areas in Japan, not that many can be enjoyed by tourists in the way this one can, which is why this time we’d like to introduce lots of ways to enjoy Dogo Onsen.
Walking around the surrounding areas, as can be expected from a hot spring area, people wearing yukata stand out.
While some hotels lend yukata to guests, there are also shops selling fashionable yukata right in front of the Dogo Onsen main building.
After changing into yukata, you’ll surely feel even more excited about sightseeing, and the first thing we recommend you do is ride one of these.
That’s right, they’re rickshaws.
You can ride one from in front of the Dogo Onsen main building, and typical of hot springs, it’s a famous ride full of history!
You can choose a 10-minute, 20-minute or 60-minute course. This time we chose the 10-minute course and were pulled around the surrounding area by a strong young guide. Listening to his bits of knowledge along the way had us in continuous awe. While listening we arrived at Dogo Onsen station.
And there we see on display the Botchan Ressha train that is now out of operation.
There are two Botchan Ressha trains, and the one in the photograph is 1-go-sha (train number 1). The other is 14-go-sha (train number 14) and the reason for that is because this is the “land of Iyo (’14’ can also be read as ‘iyo’ in Japanese)!
If you find 14-go-sha, something good might just happen!
And then, this group of people right next to us…
When the Botchan marionette clock strikes 18 o’clock, as if welcoming tourists, the clock tower starts to move, as it does on the hour every hour.
Located next to the clock tower there is also a free hot spring for soaking your feet!
And then the rickshaw heads through the shopping district back to the Dogo Onsen main building.
Riding the rickshaw through the shopping district was a bit embarrassing, but you can also feel a slight sense of superiority (laughs).
To finish off, we take a commemorative photograph in front of Dogo Onsen.
By the way, the white bird seen on top of the marionette clock tower just a moment ago is a white heron, the symbol of Dogo Onsen.
Apparently there are over 100 white heron statues in the vicinity, but only two have their wings spread wide; one is on top of the marionette clock tower and the other is on top of the Dogo Onsen main building.
While the white heron on the marionette clock looks straight ahead, the one on Dogo Onsen faces away. Why is that?
There is a proper reason~.
Try asking your guide when you’re riding the rickshaw!
In addition, the Dogo Giyaman Glass Museum is nearby, along with a café dining area where you can take a moment’s break on the beautiful garden terrace.
Dedicated article: http://eng.mg/bbba2
This is also one of our recommended spots!
In the second part of our walking guide around the Dogo Onsen area, we will be presenting some information on the gourmet you can try in the vicinity of the hot springs!
Location: 6-8 Dogoyunomachi, Matsuyama city, Ehime prefecture
Rickshaw rides (per person): Madonna course (around 10 minutes) JPY1500, Botchan course (around 20 minutes) JPY3000, Kobo-chan course (around 60 minutes) JPY6000
Setouchi Finder Photo-writer: Daisuke Chiba
Daisuke Chiba / Photo-writer I was born in 1985 in Miyoshi City, Tokushima Prefecture, and now live in Tokushima City. After graduating university, I worked at a publishing company as an editor for various mooks, and in April 2014 I went freelance. I work as a photographer, copy-writer and editor, but also do product development and other stuff as well. If anyone needs me, I can do anything! Except, in spite of my being from Tokushima, dancing - I’m really bad at dancing Awa Odori!
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