Matsuyama Castle is situated on Katsuyama hill and has an excellent view of Matsuyama City. The Matsuyama-jo is claimed to be one of the best in all of Japan. The castle was built in 1603, by the head of the Matsudeira-clan a famous samurai, Kato Yoshiakira, although parts were destroyed by bombing from American forces during World War II. Since 1966, the city of Matsuyama has been working to restore the castle.
Sunday to Saturday: 9:00 am to 4:30 pm
Admission: 500 yen
Matsuyama castle(¼ŽRéj is a must see for any visitor to Matsuyama. It's up on the hill and you get an excellent view of the city from the top. The castle itself is visible from most parts of Matsuyama city.
You have the choice of either taking the ropeway up the hill, or walking up.
Admission is 500 yen for adults, and there is a nice display inside of weapons and armour from days gone by.
This was the first Japanese castle I visited back when I first went to Japan in 2000, and I have revisited a number of times since.
This is one of Matsuyama's more interesting attractions. It is Temple 51 on the Shikoku 88 temple pilgrimage. Seven of its structures have been designated National Treasures or Important Cultural Properties.
It is about 15 minutes by foot from Dogo, and also accessible by bus from both Shi-eki and Dogo station.
This museum has been opened quite recently and has a number of exhibitions related to local history. It is of moderate interest and entrance is 400 yen.
Unfortunately there are no descriptions at all for non speakers of Japanese.
This is the easiest way to get up the steep hill from the city centre to the castle.
There is an enclosed cable car, and also a chairlift for the brave.
You can buy a combined ticket for the ropeway and castle (1000 yen).
This clock is situated in the main square in front of the Dogo Onsen station.
It was erected in 1994 in celebration of the centenary of the Dogo Onsen hot springs building.
Every hour from 8.00 a.m. to 10.00 p.m. it comes alive with little figures re-enacting a scene from the novel 'Botchan' - an autobiographical novel by Natsume Soseki, who moved to Matsuyama in 1895, and wrote about the town.
The Dogo Onsen is a hot spring spa that has been in use for over a thousand years. The nineteenth century wooden bath house building has been designated as an important cultural asset.
I didn't actually try the hot baths myself.
Matsutama Castle is situated on Katsuyama HIll in the centre of the city.
The castle was founded by Yoshiaki Katoh in 1602. Construction was completed in 1627. It is said that women from the Masaki area were employed to carry gravel for the construction in baskets on their heads. and that Katoh's wife rewarded them with hand-shaped rice balls.
In 1635, it passed into the hands of Sudayuki Matsudaira, who rebuilt the tower with three stories in 1642. This tower was struck by lightning and burnt down in 1784, and reconstruction did not begin until 1820. Parts of the complex were damaged by arson or bombing during the twentieth century and the city government is still engaged on restoring the building using original materials.
Inside the main tower it is necessary to take off your shoes and wear the green plastic slippers provided. This does not make it easier to climb the 'stairs' inside, which are almost vertical. Anyone with a fear of heights might do better to admire the buildings from ground level.
The Matsuyama-jo is a very beautiful castle .
The castle was built in 1603, by the head of the Matsudeira-clan, and later destroyed by fire.
The view over Matsuyama from the castle grounds is very beautiful.
Take also a look at the surrounding park.
Visiting Shikoku every few years has made me come to the realization that Shikoku I not just remote and unconnected to the world, but it is also remote and not very well connected to Japan. For this reason, it is always interesting to come across some tangible trace of historical contact with the west. Obscure historical figures can seem very large here, like DeMoraes the Portuguese mariner cum diplomat cum lexicologist.That's why when I was in Matsuyama I was drawn to the Russian cemetery.
Like Deutsche Village of WWI in Tokushima-ken, the Russian Cemetery is a legacy of an earlier war, in this case the Russo-Japanese war of 1905. Some 4000 Russian prisoners were brought to Shikoku and ninety-eight remained, interred as a single unit. Like the Germans prisoners of WWI, the Russian officers reported themselves and their men as being well cared for, with cordial and friendly relationships with the local population. Given the high survival rate after a rigorous campaign in East Asia, I find this easy to believe since at least some of the Russian prisoners had to have arrived sick or wounded.
In addition to the Russians, there are two American navy fliers who crashed nearby and died late in the war. Their remains are unidentified. There is also a man named Arther Lauenstein who died in 1916, but I have no information regarding his life or death.
It is hard to say what I felt when I looked on the neat rows of well tended graves with Orthodox crosses and stars of David. It was like some small part of my world had been transposed onto the alien kanji-scape of Shikoku, irrefutable proof that Livingston had indeed passed this way up the river if you will.
The plaque reads as follows:
There are graves of 98 Russian warriors there that took part in Russo-Japanese war of 1904-1905 and foundan eternal rest in Matsuyama. This cemetery is looked after by the local Elderly People Society, Women`s Association and Katsuyama (different city?) School Pupils` Council. As a sign of gratitude for such noble gesture Russian writer V Guzanov suggested putting a monument at the cemetery. It was decided to be the one of the 1st rank captain V A Boysman who offered moral support to Russian warriors. Thanks to Russians E and N Zhukov, A Zhirov, V Kirin and artist V Mukhachev it was possible to create this monument and present it to Matsuyama citizens. It was accepted with gratitude as a symbol of Japanese-Russian friendship and was placed at the Russian cemetery with the help of many citizens. October 1994. V A Boysman monument placement committee.
If there is one thing pretty much every visitor to Matsuyama will do it is visit the castle. Named "Matsuyama-jo", this castle survived the war because it was no longer in use as a muster point or administrative hub. You get spectacular views of the city as well as close up look at what was once the imperial stronghold in the area.
Hving been to many castles in Europe, the Middle East and even the Caribbean, I'm always impressed by the beauty of their Japanese counterparts. Unlike our castles, which were built to control strategic points or assets, Japanese castles were relly the seat of imperial power in their region. Their purpose was less to defend the are and more to project imperial power into the region. Thus, they decorated as a means to impress as much as to oppress.
It's easy enough to walk up the hill to the castle of course, that is if you are reasonably fit, but equally as fun to get the ropeway up.
260 yen one-way. At the end of Okaido, cross over and walk up the well signposted road to the ropeway station.
These are the two shopping arcades in the centre. Plenty of people watching, and in Okaido and surrounding streets there are plenty of bars, cafes and restaurants.
Can't comment on the shopping though!
Just down the road from Dogo Onsen is Dogo Park. It's a nice place to relax, or to wander about. You'll see people with picnic lunches and so on.
It's particularly popular during cherry blossom season, but a relaxing place at any time.
On top of Takashimaya department store, there is a ferris wheel. if you visit the beer garden there they'll usually give you a discount ticket to ride for 100 yen, but if you want to get a good overview of the city it's worth having a look at any time.