Ehime Prefecture is located in the southern part of Shikoku(one of the 4 main islands in Japan), surrounded by the ocean, has a mild climate and a comfortable place to live.
When Japanese people hear Ehime, Mikan (variety of citrus fruit) comes to their mind, enough to be known as the “Citrus Kingdom” of Japan! Ehime has the oldest hot spring in Japan, appeared in The Nihon Shoki (The Chronicles of Japan).
We will introduce where to go and what to eat in Ehime, and last but not least, Japan’s oldest hot springs, “Dogo Onsen”
“Dogo Onsen” located in Matsuyama (the capital of Ehine)
“Dogo Onsen” is said to be the oldest hot springs in Japan, many visitors from the era of “Shotoku Taishi” , including “Prince Shotoku” himself, to today visited the hot spring. Their 100% pure hot spring waters are also famous as “Bijin no yu”, it literally means “Hot water of beauty”. The waters are said to smooth and moisturize the skin.
Dogo Onsen Honkan (Main bath Facility) was build in the Meiji era, inspiration for Aburaya, featured in Hayao Miyazaki’s movie, Spirited Away.
New bath facility, “Dogo Onsen Bekkan Asuka no yu”, was opened in 2017, the appearance of an old architecture reminiscent of the Asuka period, decorated with traditional techniques such as “Kikumagawara”, “Washi”, “Wakugi”, Danjiri Sculpture and others. You can enjoy not only 100% pure hot spring waters but also architecture.
Where to go in “Dogo Onsen”
There is a shopping street called “Hikara Shotengai” in front of the Dogo Onsen Station.
There are many shops selling local specialties alongside the street, from Japanese chopsticks (hashi) shop, citrus fruits dessert to their popular local dish called “Nabeyaki Udon”(Hot pot style Udon noodle).
You can also enjoy locally brewed beer and sake at many restaurants in “Dogo Onsen”.
Souvenir to buy in Ehime
“Mikan” comes to mind when someone thinks of Ehime, but there are many other delicious foods.
What is called tart in Ehime is a roll of sponge cake with sweetened bean paste in it. It is said that it was originally brought to Ehime by Portuguese in 1647 and made some changes, you can purchase “Ehime tart” throughout the prefecture, Yuzu and Green tea-flavored tarts are popular at a shop called “Ichiroku Honpo” in front of the main bath facility (Honkan).
Imabari towel, gaining popularity abroad, is also produces in Ehime prefecture. The towel’s softness and good water absorbency is perfect for souvenirs from Japan.
The famous novel “Botchan” by Natsue Soseki is set in the prefecture, there are many things named after the main character, including “Botchan Dango (Japanese sweets dumpling ball), and sweets named after the local mascot character, “Bari” are also recommended.
Let’s take a dip in the “Hot water of Beauty” and enjoy the hot spring town.