15 Things to Do in Matsuyama

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Matsuyama Things to do
Source: 中岑 范姜

Matsuyama is present on the northwest coast of Shikoku island with a population of about 513,000. Its main attractions are the Matsuyama Castle and Dogo Onsen. However, Matsuyama has much more to offer than just these two attractions. This city is filled with a lot of temples, museums and restaurants. So here are the top 15 things to do in Matsuyama:

1. Visit Matsuyama Castle

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The Matsuyama Castle is one of Japan’s 12 original castles, meaning the castles that survived the post-feudal era and remained intact since 1868. It’s quite a complex castle and provides the viewers a bird’s eye view of the whole Matsuyama landscape. You can freely walk in the main garden of the castle and enjoy the beautiful architecture. There are easy instructions for English visitors to follow too.


2. Visit Ishiteji Temple

Source: Chris Harber

The Ishiteji temple is a Shingon temple present in Matsuyama. It is the temple 51 on the Shikoku 88 temple pilgrimage. About seven of its structures have been designated the status of National Treasury. The temple is a bit out of the roadway and is connected with a beautiful museum. The temple is popular for its quiet atmosphere and fine architecture. It is also just at a 15 to 20 minutes from the Dogo Onsen tram stop.


  • Name: Ishiteji temple
  • Address: 5-10 minute walk from Dogo Onsen, Matsuyama, Ehime Prefecture
  • Opening hour: 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

3. Visit Isaniwa Shrine

Source: Yoshikazu TAKADA

Isaniwa shrine is a popular Shinto shrine in Matsuyama. Many emperors have been enshrined at this place. Most of the buildings here have been designated as important cultural properties. The temple is about the corridors and angles. The corridors have interesting paintings which feature calligraphy and animals on the walls. If you have visited Ishiteji temple, it is a must-visit place.


4. Visit Ninomaru Historical Garden

The Ninomaru Historical garden is truly a thing of beauty. It was built at the place where the Matsuyama castle palace buildings once stood. The garden ha a small fee of 100 yen which is worth it. The beautiful gardens allow you to wander through a natural setting and enjoy yourself. You shouldn’t miss a thing there and make sure you visit every waterfall there. You should go to the garden on sunny days.


  • Name: Ninomaru Historical Garden
  • Address: 5 Marunochi, Matsuyama 790-0008, Ehime Prefecture
  • Opening hour: 9:00 a..m. to 5:00 p.m.

5. Visit Bansuiso

Source: Lisa Pinehill

Bansuiso is one of the hidden gems of Japan because if you didn’t know where it was, you can never find it. It is quite a large villa built in the Gothic French-style. It is present where the castle starts but is completely hidden by trees and tall buildings. Many areas of the mansion have been opened to the public to appreciate the art and architecture behind the villa. It also has a nice garden where you can hang out freely.


  • Name: Bansuiso
  • Address: 3-3-7 Ichibancho, Matsuyama 790-0001, Ehime Prefecture
  • Opening hour: 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

6. Visit Okaido Shopping Street

The Okaido Shopping street is present about half of kilometer eastwards before turning northwards and a further 600 meter towards the tram stop. A large variety of different shops can be found here, including chain stores, cosmetic retailers, fashion boutiques, jewelry outlets, cafés, and restaurants. You can find everything here, from cough medicine to beer. So you should shop at this place.


  • Name: Okaido Shopping street
  • Address: Okaido, Matsuyama 790-0004, Ehime Prefecture
  • Opening hour: 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.
  • Website: http://www.okaidi.com/

7. Visit Sogo Park

Source: Jeremy Eades

Sogo park is a beautiful park in Matsuyama and definitely worth your attention. The park has a small replica European style castle and big grounds where you can walk freely. It is a good place to go to chill and relax. Plus you can also get the view of the city. The park is easily accessed by car but a little hard by public transport as it is about 30 minutes distance from the nearest train station.


  • Name: Sogo Park
  • Address: 1 Toge Koryujicho, Okazaki 444-0002, Aichi Prefecture
  • Opening hour: 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

8. Board on Botchan Train

Source: Hideyuki KAMON

The Botchan train is a popular attraction between the routes of Matsuyama station and Dogo. This train is designed in the shape of old trains and its tiny locomotives and carriages are a great picturesque for the locals and visitors alike. On weekend and on holidays, the train becomes crowded but on weekdays, it isn’t crowded. Keeping in view the fact that the train costs only about 300 yen one way, you should board on it.


9. Visit Hojo Kashima Island

Hojo Kashima is a distinctive island which sits on the shore near Matsuyama. The island is just 1.5 kilometers round and offers a number of good walks. You can get spectacular views of a clear island. The island is named Kashima, meaning deer because there are a lot of deer and other wild animals present. There is also a beautiful inn where you can get the best Japanese curry. So you should visit this place.


10. Dine at Goshiki

When you get tired from all the traveling in Matsuyama, the first restaurant which you should turn to is Goshiki. The restaurant is actually run by the manufacturer of the famous Goshiki noodles. The quality of food at the restaurant is quite good. The service is quite good, the decoration is simple and traditional. You should try the special noodles which are just over 500 yen.


11. Visit Ehime Prefectural Museum

The Ehime Prefectural museum stands within walking distance from the Matsuyama castle and overlooks a wide area of lawns and trees. The large glass plate reflects the castle on its hills and looks quite stylish. The Japanese and art pieces inside the museum look quite fascinating. There are also some expositions in the museum. So anyone has a slight bit of interest in architecture should visit this museum.


  • Name: Ehime Prefectural Museum
  • Address: Horinochi, Matsuyama 790-0007, Ehime Prefecture
  • Opening hour: 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

12. Dine at Kotori

Kotori is another worth visiting restaurant in Matsuyama. The restaurant is quite elegantly decorated. However, there are only two menus. The first one is pan fried which is quite gentle in taste. The second one is Inari which is traditional rice balls. The staff at the restaurant is quite friendly and courteous. The restaurant gets too crowded sometimes, so you should get a booking and pay in advance.


  • Name: Kotori
  • Address: 3-7-2 Minatomachi, Matsuyama, Ehime Prefecture
  • Opening hour: 11:00 a.m. to 8:50 p.m.

13. Take Your Kids To Ehime Children’s Castle

The Ehime Children’s castle is present on the forest top next to the Tobe Zoo and the Ehime Prefectural Sports Complex. The name of the place in Japanese translates to ‘the children’s playground’ and it holds true to its name as there is everything here for children to enjoy. Apart from the 300 yen entrance fee, everything is free. The view of Matsuyama from the castle top is quite fascinating.


14. Visit Dogo Bakushukan

Dogo Bakushukan is a beautiful brewery-style restaurant, located in front of Dogo Onsen. There are seating for a half-dozen of Western-style tables and 20 to 30 Japanese-style tables. It is a good place for vegetarians because they serve Udon and Tempura which are quite delicious. You can also hang out at the place by drinking beer and smoking. The staff is quite friendly.


  • Name: Matsuyama Castle
  • Address: 20-13 Dogoyunomachi, Matsuyama 790-0842, Ehime Prefecture
  • Opening hour: 11:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.

15. Hang out at Shiroyama Park

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Shiroyama Park is a park, located in downtown Kagoshima. It has an elevation of 107 meters and served as the site of castle fortification. The literal meaning of Shiroyama is “Castle Mountain” in Japanese. You can freely walk among the beautiful flowering trees, like camellia, cherry blossom trees, and ume. The park is also famous for its Shiroyama Observatory and night view. So you should visit it.


  • Name: Shiroyama Park
  • Address: 3819 Kokubu-kamikogawa, Kirishima 899-4316 , Kagoshima Prefecture
  • Opening hour: 5:00 a.m. to 12:00 a.m.

Now you know the top 15 things to do in Matsuyama. There are a lot of museums, parks and restaurants in Matsuyama. This place has an attraction for people of every age. So one thing is for sure when you visit Matsuyama that you would never get bored until the last minute of your stay. So you should visit this beautiful place.

Have a good trip and travel!

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Asia, Japan, Shikoku Region