HOME 18 Fun Things to Do in Matsuyama - Places to Go, Local Food & Sightseeing Tips
18 Fun Things to Do in Matsuyama - Places to Go, Local Food & Sightseeing Tips

18 Fun Things to Do in Matsuyama - Places to Go, Local Food & Sightseeing Tips

Date published: 30 June 2021

Matsuyama is the capital of Ehime Prefecture on the island of Shikoku. It is most famous for its hot springs, which people have enjoyed for hundreds of years.

1. Dogo Onsen Honkan

1. Dogo Onsen Honkan

Dogo Onsen Honkan is believed to be the oldest hot spring in Japan, going back as far as 3,000 years.

The main building, a three-story castle-style wooden structure, has been designated an Important Cultural Property.

After enjoying the smooth hot spring water, put on a Yukata robe, stroll around the local streets full of culture, and get into the spirit of this Onsen town. A new annex called “Asuka-no-Yu” adopts the architectural style of the 6th to 8th centuries.

  • Dogo Onsen Main Building
    道後温泉本館
    • Address 5-6 Dogoyunomachi, Matsuyama, Ehime 790-0842

2. Matsuyama Ropeway Shopping Street

2. Matsuyama Ropeway Shopping Street

The Matsuyama Ropeway Shopping Street is at the foot of Matsuyama Castle, leading to the cable car station for the castle.

The relaxing street is lined with chic independent shops. From the widely known “Uwajima Taimeshi” to the leading brand “Imabari Towel,” the large variety of eateries and souvenir shops here offer a uniquely Ehime experience.

A specialty mikan shop is popular with tourists keen to try a cup of mikan juice uniquely served from the tap. It is one of the few universally designed shopping streets in Japan and offers a relaxing shopping atmosphere.

  • Matsuyama Ropeway Shopping Street
    ロープウェー街
    • Address 3 Chome-2, Okaido, Matsuyama, Ehime 790-0004

3. Matsuyama Castle

3. Matsuyama Castle

Matsuyama Castle is one of Japan’s few castles with original surviving keeps or main towers.

Its 21 buildings are listed as Important Cultural Properties, and the castle is regarded as one of the three best "Renritsu-shiki Hirayama-jiro" (Renritsu-shiki: an architectural style where the top castle tower is in the center with smaller towers on either side; Hirayama-jiro: a castle built on a hill on a plain).

The towers are all connected to defend the main castle building. The castle is a well-known symbol of Matsuyama mentioned in many books and movies. It has been and will be guarding the city of Matsuyama for centuries!

  • Matsuyama Castle
    松山城
    • Address 1 Marunouchi, Matsuyama, Ehime 790-0008

4. Bansuiso

4. Bansuiso

Bansuiso is a Renaissance-style villa built as a second home for Sadakoto Hisamatsu, a descendant of the Matsuyama clan lord. It has hosted the Imperial Family and was a popular venue for high society notables of various artistic fields.

Making good use of the gorgeous architecture of the time, it hosts a range of events and exhibitions today and is designated an Important Cultural Property. Although located near the city center, the villa allows visitors to relax in the charming retro rooms isolated from the hustle and bustle going on outside.

  • Bansuis
    萬翠荘
    • Address 3-3-7 Ichibancho, Matsuyama City, Ehime Prefecture, 790-0001

5. Okaido Shopping Arcade

5. Okaido Shopping Arcade

Ōkaido is a huge shopping arcade in the center of Matsuyama. The Matsuyama Mitsukoshi department store, the Aeru Matsuyama shopping complex, and many restaurants along the arcade offer convenient shopping and dining options.

The pedestrianized streets of the arcade offer the perfect place to ramble around, while the covered arcade gives protection from rain and sun. The north side leads to the Ropeway Shopping Street, while the south side continues to the Gintengai Shopping Arcade. During summer, the "Doyo Yoichi" festival is held here.

6. Uwajima Castle

6. Uwajima Castle

Uwajima Castle, along with Matsuyama Castle, is one of Japan’s twelve castles with original surviving keeps (tenshu). Once a strong fortress facing Uwajima Bay, the castle is enclosed within an irregular pentagon-shaped land area.

The castle was built by Tōdō Takatora, a feudal lord known for his excellence in castle design. With steep flights of stone steps along its enormous stone walls, the three-story, triple-layer castle tower stands prominently on a hilltop. Inside the castle, you can enjoy the wooden interiors along with views of Uwajima City and Uwajima Bay in the distance.

  • Uwajima Castle
    宇和島城
    • Address 3 Marunouchi, Uwajima, Ehime 798-0060

7. Gintengai Shopping Arcade

7. Gintengai Shopping Arcade

The 600m Gintengai Shopping Arcade is as popular as the Ōkaido Shopping Arcade.

The arcade includes shops dealing mainly in clothing, homeware, variety goods, cosmetics. It's also home to the biggest department store in Shikoku (Iyotetsu Takashimaya) and Shikoku’s only underground shopping complex (Matsuchika Town) at the western entrance.

The eastern side borders the Ōkaido Shopping Arcade across the street. The summer festival “Doyo Yoichi” takes place at Ōkaido, Gintengai, and Matsuchika Town on Saturdays from late June to the first week of August every year.

  • Matsuyama Gintengai
    松山銀天街
    • Address 4-11, Minatomachi, Matsuyama City, Ehime Prefecture, 790-0012

8. Shirai Falls

8. Shirai Falls

Great writers such as Masaoka Shiki and Natsume Sōseki visited this waterfall and composed several well-known Tanka and Haiku poems about the scenery.

The waterfalls are easily accessible via a footpath that leads to the perfect viewing location. The 96m tall falls freeze in winter, creating a gigantic frozen waterfall that will amaze visitors lucky enough to see its mystical beauty. Along with a nearby farm park, the falls are the perfect place to enjoy some amazing natural beauty.

  • Shirai Falls
    白猪の滝
    • Address Kawanouchi, Toon, Ehime 791-0321

9. Towel Museum Ichihiro

9. Towel Museum Ichihiro

This is the world’s first towel museum dedicated to the art of towel manufacturing.

The unique museum has much to offer, including displays of intricate traditional towels, works of art made from towels, and an exhibition on the towel-making process. The garden's beauty changes with the seasons, and the museum café offers pleasant lunches and afternoon teas. An enticing range of original goods and local products are available in the museum shops.

  • Towel Museum of Art
    タオル美術館
    • Address 2930 Asakura Kamika, Imabari-shi, Ehime, 799-1607

10. Rice Terraces of Izumidani

10. Rice Terraces of Izumidani

The Izumidani terraced rice fields are a brilliant sight. They are designated as one of Japan’s best 100 rice terraces, consisting of 95 paddy fields on a steep mountain slope.

The rice harvested here is among the highest quality, thanks to an abundance of clear spring water throughout the year. The terraced fields skilfully lined with stone display beautiful seasonal color variations such as shining spring greens, golden stems of rice glowing in the summer sunshine, and scarlet-watered terrace fields reflecting the sunsets.

  • Rice Terraces of Izumidani
    泉谷棚田
    • Address Kitaomote, Uchiko, Kita District, Ehime 795-0307

11. Nametoko Gorge

11. Nametoko Gorge

Nametoko Gorge is located along the upper branch of the Meguro River, a tributary of the Shimanto River.

It features smooth channels of eroded granite stone. The clear stream water gushing through huge rocks known as "Senjojiki" or "Deainame" is a particular highlight. Yukiwa Falls is an icon of Nametoko Gorge and designated as one of Japan's “Top 100 Waterfalls.”

The 12km of walking trails are well maintained. The gorge is a popular location for people to enjoy a walk through some incredible natural surroundings, especially during spring and autumn.

  • Nametoko Gorge
    足摺宇和海国立公園 滑床渓谷
    • Address Nametoko Valley, Meguro, Matsuno-cho, Kitauwa-gun, Ehime 798-2106

12. Mt. Ishizuchi

12. Mt. Ishizuchi

Mt. Ishizuchi is one of the seven sacred peaks of Japan. A variety of walking trails are available, including a 4.6km hike along the ridge from Tsuchigoya, Kumakōgen, and a cable car ride from Saijo City.

Depending on experience, many climbing options are available, including a challenging one-of-a-kind trail where advanced climbers can ascend via a network of chains up a series of sheer cliffs. Upon reaching the summit, majestic views stretching from the Seto Inland Sea and Tosa Bay to the Chūgoku and Shikoku Mountains visible in the distance on fine days are magnificent!

  • Mount Ishizuchi
    石鎚山
    • Address Wakayama, Kumakogen, Kamiukena District, Ehime 791-1710

13. JR Shimonada Station

13. JR Shimonada Station

JR Shimonada Station was known as Japan’s closest station to the sea until the construction of national highway 378 “Yuyake-koyake Line” along the shore.

Nonetheless, the station is still very popular with railway fans, and is a favorite location for shooting films and TV dramas, and was famously used for advertising Japan Rail’s Seishun 18 Ticket.

The views are spectacular at any time: from the sunshine sparkling on the sea's surface during the day to the glowing sunset over the golden waves at dusk.

  • JR Shimonada Station
    下灘駅
    • Address Futamicho Okubo, Iyo, Ehime 799-3311

14. Niihama Taiko Festival (Mid-October)

14. Niihama Taiko Festival (Mid-October)

The Niihama Taiko Festival is one of the biggest festivals in Ehime. A series of 5.5m high Taiko drum-shaped floats, weighing about 3 tons, are paraded through the town.

The highlight is the “Kakikurabe,” where the giant floats are taken around the town to entertain the local crowds. When the “Sashiage” – teams of men lifting each float over their heads with shouts of “Sorya! Sorya!” – starts, the crowds erupt in united cheers!

  • Ikku Shrine
    一宮神社
    • Address 1 Chome-3-1 Ikkucho, Niihama, Ehime 792-0025

15. Saijo Festival (Mid-October)

15. Saijo Festival (Mid-October)

The Saijo Festival is a magnificent spectacle featuring around 150 traditional wooden floats called danjiri.

The festival's highlight is the “Kawairi,” held on 16 October, when approximately 80 floats form a line along the banks of the Kamo River and lanterns are lit for the mikoshi portable shrines to be taken to Isono Shrine toward evening. The festival’s grand finale sees the many floats from Isono Shrine surround the mikoshi shrines to prevent them from crossing the river.

  • Isono Shrine
    伊曽乃神社
    • Address Ko-1649 Nakano, Saijo, Ehime 793-0054

16. Warei Taisai Uwajima Ushi-Oni Festival (July 22-24)

16. Warei Taisai Uwajima Ushi-Oni Festival (July 22-24)

The Warei Taisai Uwajima Ushi-Oni Festival is one of the major summer festivals of Shikoku. The festival takes place at the end of July and begins with the grand Gaiya Carnival with gigantic bull-shaped floats parading down the streets.

The fireworks displays held over two consecutive nights are a particular highlight and include shows above the sea and underwater. Get close to the focal point of the fireworks display for an incredible view that you will find impossible to turn away from! On the last day of the festival, fireworks are shot off one after another toward the grand finale, the stirring “Hashirikomi.”

  • Warei Shrine
    和霊神社
    • Address 1451 Wareicho, Uwajima, Ehime 798-0012

17. Enjoy a taste of Tai (Sea Bream)

17. Enjoy a taste of Tai (Sea Bream)

Taimeshi (sea bream rice) is a traditional local specialty of Ehime, the source of the majority of Japan’s sea bream.

The eastern (Imabari and Matsuyama) and southern (Uwajima) areas each have their own distinctive recipes. Taimeshi in the east consists of rice cooked with a whole sea bream, while Taimeshi in the south is a dish of fresh sea bream sashimi dipped in a mixture of soy sauce and egg on a bowl of white rice. Another specialty is Tai Somen (sea bream noodles), a sea bream dish cooked with a salty-sweet sauce and served with fine noodles.

18. Mikan (Satsuma)

18. Mikan (Satsuma)

The mikan (satsuma) of Ehime are a perfect balance of sweet and sour.

Their full flavor results from the perfect natural growing conditions of sunshine, sea breezes, and mild temperatures. Approximately 40 varieties of citrus fruits, including mikan, are grown in Ehime – more than anywhere else in Japan! Ehime also leads the nation in the production volume of citrus fruits.

As the picking season varies, several varieties of mikan are available throughout the year. Don’t miss trying the wide range of products made with mikans, such as fresh juices, ice cream, jelly, and more.

*This information is from the time of this article's publication.
*Prices and options mentioned are subject to change.
*Unless stated otherwise, all prices include tax.

Share this article.

Recommended places for you

Recommended articles for first-time visitors to Japan
Search