Matsuyama – Part 1
Matsuyama (松山市) is the largest city on the Japanese island of Shikoku. It has a population of 516,459. The city’s name means “pine mountain”. Matsuyama was founded on December 15, 1889.
The city is known for the Dogo Onsen [hot spring], which is among the oldest in Japan, The current Onsen building is a Meiji Period wooden public bathhouse dating from 1894. Matsuyama castle is on top of a scenic hill in a centrally located park. Eight of the eighty-eight temples in the Shikoku Buddhist Pilgrimage are found in and around Matsuyama.
Natsume Soseki, one of the most famous novelists in Japan, lived there early in life and used the city as the setting for Botchan. As a result, there are numerous sites and locales around the city that are named after the main character. The Botachan Ressha is an antique, diesel-powered miniature train that runs on the city’s tramway.
In Part 1 of this series I shall focus on Issoan, the house and grave of a famous Haiku poet, Taneda Santōka – 種田 山頭火, as well as the nearby Gokoku Shinto Shrine. Parts 2 and 3 with center on the Dogo Onsen and the Matsuyama Castle.