Matsuyama is the most populated city on Shikoku Island, as well as the capital of Ehime Prefecture. It is a city particularly appreciated by the Japanese, not only for its tourist appeal, with its castle and its Dogo Onsen thermal spring, but also for its literary interest, since it was the city of residence of Masaoka Shiki (father of modern haiku) and Natsume Sôseki, a Japanese novelist, author of Botchan, a novel published in 1906 and often cited as the precursor of modern Japanese literature (and which is located precisely in Matsuyama !)
Matsuyama can be reached in 1.5 hours by flight from Haneda Airport in Tokyo, and in 50 minutes from Osaka Airport. From Matsuyama airport, you can reach the station in 21 minutes by bus. By train, the journey is longer but quite feasible via Shinkansen Nozomi or Hikari. From Tokyo, it takes 3 to 4 hours; and from Kyoto, between 1 hour and 1 hour 30 minutes.
Matsuyama is very famous for its castle, Matsuyama Castle, built in 1603. It is one of the few castles in the country to have been preserved almost entirely in their original state. The most beautiful view of the city is located from the castle keep, where you can observe Matsuyama and the Seto inland sea.
The other must-see attraction in the city is the Dogo Onsen, a thermal spring nearly 3,000 years old, classified as an important cultural asset. After relaxing in the baths, visitors can also visit the imperial family section of the spa complex.
For lovers of literature, Botchan’s train is also an attraction not to be missed: it is an old-fashioned tramway built in honour of Natsume Soseki’s book, which allows you to visit the entire city.
On the festival side, the city is famous for the Matsuyama Dogo Autumn Festival.
For locals and tourists alike, Matsuyama is also an excellent starting point for many excursions: Tobe, an important ceramic city on Shikoku Island (famous for its indigo blue style on white porcelain); Omogokei Gorge and Mount Ishizuchi (one of Japan’s 7 sacred mountains with the most famous Mount Fuji); or Uwajima where you can discover the history of the Date clan through a castle and a museum, and watch traditional bullfights.