The capital of Japan’s Ehime Prefecture, Matsuyama is a city rich with culture and full of stunning attractions. The city is best known for its famous hot springs, which include some of the oldest in the whole of Japan, as well as its many historical buildings, including Matsuyama Castle and Ishiteji Temple. For anyone visiting the Setouchi region, Matsuyama is a city worth stopping off in.

In this article, we have compiled a list of the best things to do in Matsuyama to show off what the city has to offer. Be sure to explore our Ehime section to find out more about what the wider prefecture has to offer.

Dogo Onsen

One of Japan’s oldest and most famous hot springs, Dogo Onsen is a must-visit for anyone seeking an authentic onsen experience. Located in the east of central Matsuyama, people travel from all over the world to visit this famous onsen, and it also said to have served as inspiration for the internationally loved Studio Ghibli film Spirited Away. The onsen’s central location makes it easily accessible via tram and there are many shops and attractions nearby to enjoy before and after your visit.

Matsuyama Castle

The original Matsuyama Castle was built in the early 1600s and has since been rebuilt twice due to fires. The current iteration of the castle is just as striking as the original, and is considered one of Japan’s finest castles. Located at the top of Mount Katsuyama, Matsuyama Castle can be viewed from almost all parts of the city and – even better – offers a wonderful panoramic view of the city. At the base of the mountain, you’ll also find Shiroyama Park, which is the perfect place to rest after a day spent at the castle.

Ishiteji Temple

The city of Matsuyama is home to several captivating temples, though Ishiteji Temple – located in the north-east of the city centre – is its most famous. The temple features a sprawling design, featuring several buildings including a three-storied tower pagoda. In the temple grounds, visitors can also find a hidden inner temple located in a cave. There are many valuable, historical features in Ishiteji Temple that should not be missed out on.

The Shiki Museum

Masaoka Shiki is seen is a major figure in the development of modern haiku poetry, and is credited with writing many stanzas. Though he only lived a short life, passing away at 35, he is seen as one of the most important figures from Matsuyama’s history. The Shiki Museum pays tribute to the influential figure and is worth visiting for anyone interested in his life or the art form of haiku.

Plan your trip to Matsuyama – browse our sample itineraries here.