Tag Archives: Tama-no-yu

Dogo Hot Spring Dating Back to the Mythical Era

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A street car bound for Dogo hot spring




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copyright (c) 2011 まるく株式会社 All rights reserved.


Matsuyama Castle




Here is an old castle town. Japan, you already know, consists of four main islands. In Shikoku Island, one of those, Matsuyama City with the largest population in the island is located (A link to the location). In spite of the urban size, the city is not noisy and creates a relaxed atmosphere of a southern region. The building to the upper left of the Image 1 is the part of the castle. The destination of the streetcar shows “Dogo hot spring” which is said to have the oldest onsen history and dates back to the mythical era. Twenty minutes on the streetcar take you there from the downtown. A hot spring resort with traditional Japanese-style ambience always waits for you.




Dogo Onsen Main Building



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旅と温泉の無料写真素材 おんふぉと


Dogo Hot Spring Main Hall




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Red glowing penthouse named “Shinrokaku” and white heron appearing in a myth




At six o’clock in the morning, it is still dark before dawn in winter seasons. The sound of drumming reverberates from a pale red glowing penthouse on the top of the main hall. At the same time, customers who are looking forward to a morning bath enter the building one after another.


This wooden structure is three-storied and its center part was completed in 1894. This is the symbol of Dogo hot spring, yet it would be not an exaggeration to say that the building represents Japanese hot spring culture itself. Well, let’s come inside.




The Inside of the Main Hall



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Copyright © Matsuyama City All rights reserved.






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Copyright © Matsuyama City All rights reserved.






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Tatami mats lounge




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旅と温泉の無料写真素材 おんふぉと


One of the 8 private rooms on the third floor




This big wooden hall offers a lot of spots which is worth visiting.


There are five big bathtubs on the first floor. They are graded in two types and the fee is different. When you purchase a ticket to high-grade “Kami-no-yu”, you can enjoy both grades. However, I think the difference of the two is just the brightness and tiles’ quality.

On the second floor, you can wear laundry yukata (light cotton kimono) at additional charge. And spacious tatami-mat lounge is provided and tea and Japanese sweats are served there. Lying flat on tatami mats enables you to relax to your hearts content. However, when the lounge is crowded with customers, it is better to refrain from the behavior not to be inconvenient to others.


On the third floor, eight private lounge are provided. You can take a rest there at additional charge. A room of the Image 8 is open for public and is famous because a novelist, Soseki Natsume whose portrait was printed on the front of the former thousand yen bills rested at ease. Just sitting down and looking out of the widow can make you feel like a great literally figure.





(A Bathroom Exclusively for the use of the Imperial Family)



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Copyright © Matsuyama City All rights reserved.


The throne




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Copyright © Matsuyama City All rights reserved.


A bathtub exclusive for the Imperial Family




The main hall has a unique facility worth noting. It is the Yushin-Den which is exclusively for the use of the Imperial Family members. I must be declined to use it if I paid Matsuyama City $1,000. The donation of $1million? Anyone has not tried the idea, so it would be worth a try for people with much money to spend. All the same we will not be given a permissive nod. It is because this place is special part in the building. At extra charge, sorry here again, it is possible to look on the majestic room.


Unfortunately, it has been not used for a member of the Imperial Family since 1952 and I do not hear they use this facility even if an emperor or prince visits the city. However, it is treasured in preparation to “the opportunity someday”.




The Anecdote of the Construction



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A full view of the Dogo hot spring main hall




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Public Domain

A main hall shot in 1894



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Public Domain

Mayor Yukiya Isaniwa



Considering tax, it is very difficult to determine if it is wasting of tax money or not.


Before the main hall today was constructed, a former hall had been too dilapidated and had to be rebuilt. However, local people were astonished at the budget amount and launched the campaign against the reconstruction project. The area of Dogo then did not yet to merger with castle town Matsuyama and was a small municipality.


Yukiya Isaniwa, a mayor of Dogo, announced a project to build a new main hall which cost the amount equal to the initial monthly salary of 16,875 school teachers. He himself worked for no salary and persuaded the local people and said that “The main building which would be inimitable even one hundred years later would attract tourists and benefit local economy”. He stuck to his beliefs in spite of the threat to his life. In addition, he even attracted railways like the Image 1. He is the benefactor of Dogo to remember. Today, Dogo hot spring resort maintains and enhances its prosperity centering on the main hall which is now designated as an important cultural asset.




Traditional Landscape and Cutting Edge Art Form



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Copyright (C) 2015 dogo-art All Rights Reserved

14-蜷川実花×道後温泉 道後アート2015

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Copyright (C) 2015 dogo-art All Rights Reserved

15-蜷川実花×道後温泉 道後アート2015


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Copyright © SOZAING. All Rights Reserved.


The replica of a steam-locomotive over 100 years ago named “Botchan Ressha” and Dogo Station




The total number of numerous hotels and inns around the main hall can accommodate over 6,000 tourists per day. Not only do they enjoy hot spring, but they also stroll around its traditional and quaint streetscape which appeals to visitors. This area has a middle-aged castle ruin (It is the very different from Matsuyama castle of the Image 2) and offers services to take a rickshaw.


Matsuyama is located along the Seto Inland Sea abounding in seafood. Gourmet-oriented people are especially satisfied with local cuisine. Each hotel and inn employs superb chefs who cook supper for you.


Works collaborating with cutting edge art form is fascinating. The main hall is known as the motif of a film named “Spirited Away” by animated movie director Hayao Miyazaki. Filmic scenes are colorfully re-created in the real building of the Image 14 and 15. Posted above are art shows and project mappings which are exhibited on the main hall.




From the Mythical Era to the Ancient Times



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(Photo by (c) Photo AC)


A white heron



In the mythical era, two Shinto deities named Ōkuninushi and Sukunabikona made nation-building efforts. However, Sukunabikona was taken with illness. And then Ōkuninushi carried hot spring in Kyushu to this Dogo area. According to the myth, Sukunabikona recovered after soaking in the hot spring.


Another myth says that a white heron suffering an injury to its leg discovered the spa and bathed it. After healing, the bird flew to the sky. People looked at the event and started to soak themselves, getting rid of tiredness and curing diseases.


In the ancient times, around 6th to 7th century, when the capital was located in Nara, emperors, empresses, imperial family members and nobles came to this place. It is because maritime routes were major means of transportation, so this area unexpectedly seemed to be crowded. The existence of Yushin-den exclusive for the Imperial family members is a kind of the pride for the local people.


By the way, the shooting location of the Image 11 is a low hill where earthenware and stone arrowheads 3,000 years ago were excavated. Believe the myth or not, this place has been a kind of oasis since far distant past.





The Anecdote of the Construction


The history of Dogo hot spring


The outline of Dogo hot spring