The main building is the symbol of Dogo Onsen
Dogo Onsen, which has a history of over 3000 years is known as the oldest onsen in Japan, is ideal as a hot spring cure and a beauty treatment with its pure alkaline waters. The wooden three-story Dogo Onsen Main Building which was built in 1894 is a symbol of Dogo Onsen which can be enjoyed even on a day trip. The great Japanese author, Soseki Natsume, has even written about it in his novel, “Botchan”, and the building was a model for the bathhouse in Hayao Miyazaki’s “Spirited Away”. There is the legend of the white heron which healed its injury at the onsen which is written in the clock tower on the roof of the third floor of the main building, and there is a large drum hanging in the center which used to be struck once an hour since ancient times to broadcast the time, but currently it is struck daily at 6 a.m. to signal the opening of the bathhouse and then at noon and in the evening for a total of 3 times. The 1st-floor Kami-no-Yu is separated into 2 baths for men and 1 bath for women while on the 2nd floor, the Tama-no-Yu has 1 bath each for men and women, and there are 4 bathing plans with different rates. One plan is for bathing only, another plan includes bathing with a rental robe and tea and snacks with access to the relaxation area on the 2nd floor and there is another plan which includes the robe and snacks plus access to private rooms on the 3rd floor. For free, you can take a look at the room Botchan-no-Ma which is connected with the author Natsume, along with the Yushinden for those using Tama-no-Yu. The Yushinden was built in 1899 as a bath for the Imperial Household.
Tourist spots that are the best for a stroll
There are plenty of tourist spots within walking distance such as the Tama-no-Ishi which brings good luck if you pour hot water over the stone, Hojo-en where you can enjoy a gadget clock with a little boy coming out every hour to music as you take a foot bath, the Dogo Shopping Street which has cafes and souvenir shops selling famous pastries such as Ichiroku tarts and Botchan dumplings, Yu Shrine which protects the waters of Dogo, and the beautiful vermilion Isaniwa Shrine. It’s also fun to take a ride on the steam engine Botchan Train around the streets of Matsuyama.