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Regions of Japan

Hokkaido Tohoku Hokuriku
Shinetsu
Kanto Tokai Kansai Chugoku Shikoku Kyushu Okinawa Islands SAPPORO TOKYO NAGOYA OSAKA FUKUOKA FURANO KUSHIRO AOMORI SENDAI FUKUSHIMA NIKKO HAKONE SADO TAKAYAMA KANAZAWA ISE KYOTO NARA HIROSHIMA NAGASAKI KAGOSHIMA NAHA
Hokkaido
Hokkaido
  • Hokkaido
Japan's great white north offers wild, white winters and bountiful summers—a haven for dedicated foodies, nature lovers and outdoor adventure fans seeking an adrenaline rush Japan's great white north offers wild, white winters and bountiful summers—a haven for dedicated foodies, nature lovers and outdoor adventure fans seeking an adrenaline rush
Tohoku
Tohoku
  • Aomori
  • Akita
  • Iwate
  • Yamagata
  • Miyagi
  • Fukushima
Fearsome festivals, fresh powder snow and vast fruit orchards—the rugged territory of Tohoku offers a new perspective on travel in Japan Fearsome festivals, fresh powder snow and vast fruit orchards—the rugged territory of Tohoku offers a new perspective on travel in Japan
Hokuriku Shinetsu
Hokuriku Shinetsu
  • Niigata
  • Toyama
  • Ishikawa
  • Fukui
  • Nagano
An easily accessible slice of rural Japan offering unrivaled mountainscapes and coastlines, endless outdoor adventure and amazing ocean fare An easily accessible slice of rural Japan offering unrivaled mountainscapes and coastlines, endless outdoor adventure and amazing ocean fare
Kanto
Kanto
  • Tokyo
  • Kanagawa
  • Chiba
  • Saitama
  • Ibaraki
  • Tochigi
  • Gunma
Jump from the neon glow of Tokyo to Gunma's mountain retreats, Kamakura's cultural heritage and the Ogasawara Islands' exotic wildlife Jump from the neon glow of Tokyo to Gunma's mountain retreats, Kamakura's cultural heritage and the Ogasawara Islands' exotic wildlife
Tokai
Tokai
  • Yamanashi
  • Shizuoka
  • Gifu
  • Aichi
  • Mie
Hallmark attractions such as Mt. Fuji and Takayama coexist with major cities and famous heritage in the center of Japan Hallmark attractions such as Mt. Fuji and Takayama coexist with major cities and famous heritage in the center of Japan
Kansai
Kansai
  • Kyoto
  • Osaka
  • Shiga
  • Hyogo
  • Nara
  • Wakayama
The Kansai region is one of contrasts, from the glittering lights of Osaka and Kobe to the cultural treasures of Kyoto and Nara The Kansai region is one of contrasts, from the glittering lights of Osaka and Kobe to the cultural treasures of Kyoto and Nara
Chugoku
Chugoku
  • Tottori
  • Shimane
  • Okayama
  • Hiroshima
  • Yamaguchi
Welcome to Japan's less-explored western frontier, where the weather is warmer and the pace of life is slower Welcome to Japan's less-explored western frontier, where the weather is warmer and the pace of life is slower
Shikoku
Shikoku
  • Tokushima
  • Kagawa
  • Ehime
  • Kochi
Island-hopping, cycling, soul-warming spiritual strolling and red-hot dancing—the island of Shikoku gets you up and moving Island-hopping, cycling, soul-warming spiritual strolling and red-hot dancing—the island of Shikoku gets you up and moving
Kyushu
Kyushu
  • Fukuoka
  • Saga
  • Nagasaki
  • Oita
  • Kumamoto
  • Miyazaki
  • Kagoshima
The southern island of Kyushu is home to hot springs, rugged geography, undeveloped beaches and volcanoes ranging from sleepy to smoky The southern island of Kyushu is home to hot springs, rugged geography, undeveloped beaches and volcanoes ranging from sleepy to smoky
Okinawa
Okinawa
  • Okinawa
Fly to Okinawa and discover a distinct island culture born of subtropical sun, white sand, coral, mangrove jungles and the age of the Ryukyu Kings Fly to Okinawa and discover a distinct island culture born of subtropical sun, white sand, coral, mangrove jungles and the age of the Ryukyu Kings

EHIME Matsuyama

Visit the birthplace of haiku and try your hand at pottery and indigo crafts

Soak up the rich literary tradition of this famously hospitable castle town. Matsuyama is a welcome respite from Japan's frenetic cities offering no shortage of activities to keep you occupied.

Don't Miss

  • Take a bath in Japan's oldest onsen
  • Try the local craft Dogo Beer or a freshly squeezed glass of mikan juice
  • Keep an eye out for the beautiful haiku stones dotted around the city
  • Venture to the suburbs to find magical islands populated by deer

How to Get There

Matsuyama is the prefectural capital of Ehime and the largest city on Shikoku. As a result, there is a network of transport options from around Japan and to other areas of Shikoku Island.

By air, it's about a one and a half hour journey from Tokyo Haneda airport to Matsuyama Airport. From Osaka Kansai, it is just 50 minutes.

To access Matsuyama by rail, catch the Shinkansen from any major station, such as Tokyo or Osaka, to Okayama. It's then a two and a half hour journey from Okayama to Matsuyama Station by JR Seto-Ohashi/Yosan Line Limited Express train.

From Hiroshima take the Setonaikaikisen Car Ferry or Super Jet Ferry to Matsuyama port.

The birthplace of modern haiku

Masaoka Shiki, the father of modern haiku, described the city as his ‘dear home town'. See Matsuyama through Shiki's eyes with a visit to the Shiki Museum. If you're on a tight schedule, try to spot the beautiful haiku stones around the city or get creative and post your own into one of the many haiku post boxes dotted throughout Matsuyama.

A novel city

Natsume Soseki wrote his novel Botchan after living in Matsuyama, and for the people of the city, it's truly a badge of pride. Even the city's replica steam train was named in honor of Soseki's work.

If you're a bookworm, take a trip to the Saka No Ue No Kumo Museum, designed by the architect Tadao Ando. The museum is a treasure trove of artifacts inspired by the Ryotoro Shiba novel 'Clouds above the Hill'.

The heart of Matsuyama

Sitting on a hill above the city is Matsuyama Castle. One of Japan's few original castles. It's home to an abundance of unique cultural experiences such as the opportunity to play taiko drums and wear the armor of a samurai. The castle offers sweeping panoramas of the city and is particularly beautiful in cherry blossom season.

Be spirited away by Dogo

Another quintessential Japanese experience is to bathe in Dogo Onsen - a hot spring bath with a 3000-year history that has hosted royalty and inspired Miyazaki's Spirited Away.

Dogo area is a wonderful place to stroll around. The nearby Dogo park houses the Yuzuki castle ruins and the area also showcases Japanese art in various outdoor locations.

Panoramic views

If you want to enjoy sweeping panoramas of the city and the nearby Seto Inland sea, head to Takashimaya department store, which has a ferris wheel on top. From there you can see amazing views from Matsuyama Central Park, home to Matsuyama's second castle.

Follow the pilgrim's path

There are eight of the 88 Temples of the Shikoku pilgrimage in Matsuyama, one of which is the curious Ishite-ji. A highlight here is its mysterious statue-lined tunnel complex that leads to a second inner temple. If you are lucky, you might even see a pilgrim in their traditional costume paying their respects to Kobo Dashi (774-835), the founder of Shingon Buddhism in Japan.

A Pilgrim bows before entering a temple

Indigo crafts

If you are feeling creative, there are two local crafts to try your hand at, Iyo Kasuri indigo dyeing and Tobeyaki pottery making. At Iyo Kasuri Folk Craft Hall you can dye your own apparel. An hour bus ride from Matsuyama is Tobe City where you can both make and paint a number of ceramics.

Deer Island

If you're feeling adventurous, catch a train for 20 minutes to Iyo-Hojo station and hop on a five-minute ferry to Kashima Island. Here you can see deer that mostly roam around the woods of this small island.

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