Dogo Onsen hot spring Main Building

Welcome to Ehime!  More precisely, welcome to Matsuyama city, one of the hot spots (pun-intended) of Ehime Prefecture.  I love this card–the architecture, the lighting, everything is perfect!  Dogo-Onsen-Honkan is considered one of the oldest bath houses/hot springs in Japan and is a designated Important Cultural Property by the Japanese Government.  While the building above dates to the 19th century, Dogo-Onsen has been around in some form for over 3,000 years.   The main building we see here was built in 1894 and has been attracting a discerning, even famous (multiple Emperors), clientele ever since! The Ehime Tourist Information website notes that “the three-storied timber structure is said to be a model of the bathhouse of the gods in the film “Spirited Away” by Hayao Miyazaki.”  It also figures in the novel Botchan by Soseki Natsume (1867-1916) which is considered a modern classic of Japanese literature.

According to Evita, the baths remain extremely popular today and are usually crowded.  Visiting an onsen is on my must-do list the day I get to Japan.  I love hot baths.  I can soak in steaming (boiling according to my husband) water for hours and be as happy as a clam!  When we got married, one of my friends gave us a week’s vacation at Leukerbad–a thermal resort in the Alps–for a wedding gift.  I was in heaven, Anthony and Laura enjoyed themselves too.  We went there in May, a little over a year after our wedding, with Laura in tow.  According to the local tourist office, the Burgerbad Therme where we went every day is the largest alpine thermal spa in Europe.  It had 10 different pools ranging from 28°C to 43°C all with the Alps as the perfect backdrop.  The main baths also had a large children’s pool which was nice for us.  We got in the habit of exploring the mountains and the village for half the day and spending the other half relaxing in the water.  It was a perfect gift!  Getting back to Japanese baths, I wonder what the etiquette is for children in Japanese onsen.  Can you take your children with you?  Or do you need a baby-sitter?  I wouldn’t be surprised with an affirmative answer to either question.  While Laura was certainly welcome in the main baths in Leukerbad, most of the ocean spas near us are strictly for adults.  Questions for another day…

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2 Responses to Ehime

  1. PostMuse says:

    Beautiful building! Though I’m not sure a clam would be happy in really hot water 😉

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