Shikoku: Dogo Onsen Area
Located in the north-east of Matsuyama City, Dogo Onsen is one of Japan’s oldest and most famous hot spring districts, and home to the country’s most instantly recognisable bathhouse. Constructed in 1894, ‘Dogo Onsen Honkan’ is said to have inspired the fantastical bathhouse featured in Studio Ghibli’s ‘Spirited Away’, with its distinctive façade and inner ‘Kami-no-Yu’ (Bath of the Gods) and ‘Tama-no-Yu’ (Bath of the Spirits) baths all reminiscent of the spirit bathhouse featured in the film.
There’s plenty of accommodation to choose from including traditional ‘onsen’ (hot spring) guesthouses. Accommodation ranges from high-end to mid-range and budget options, including large hotels and more intimate guesthouses. As hot spring area, some hotels offer only Japanese-style rooms with on-floor ‘futon’ bedding and shared bathing and toilet facilities, so if that is something you want to avoid, make sure to check the room features of your chosen hotel prior to booking.