Dōgo Onsen Annex Asuka-no-Yu: New & Traditionary Bathhouse
Visit a unique hot spring facility that just opened in September 2017. Dōgo Onsen Annex Asuka-no-Yu is a spa that has been constructed in the architectural style of the Asuka period with Ehime’s traditional crafts and contemporary art. Soak in the main bath and watch the projection mapping on the traditional mural. Have tea and Japanese sweets in the public lounge as you gaze at the washi crafts on the ceiling. Bathe in the special private bathing room and pretend that you are a member of the Japanese royal family.
Dōgo Onsen Annex “Asuka-no-Yu” bathhouse
Dōgo Onsen Annex “Asuka-no-Yu” bathhouse
Ehime prefecture’s “Dōgo Onsen” is thought to be “Japan’s oldest hot spring” with 3,000 years of history. The popular “Dōgo Onsen main building,” a beautiful traditional Japanese bathhouse, is said to have been the model of a Japanese animated movie, “Spirited Away.” The main building is a must-go place but make the time to visit a new hot spring facility that is drawing much attention. Located close to the “Dōgo Onsen main building,” the “Dōgo Onsen Annex Asuka-no-Yu” was created with “ancient Dōgo” as the theme. It’s a unique facility that has been constructed in the architectural style of the Asuka period with Ehime’s traditional crafts, and contemporary art.
Step inside, and there is a huge Japanese modern entrance with a woodcut mural featuring a yudama or Dōgo Onsen’s symbol. It’s carved with wakugi or traditional Japanese nails known to last a thousand years, which were also used to reconstruct parts of the world heritage Yakushi-ji Seitō Temple in Nara prefecture. Looking up, you see temple gate-like shades made with Japanese Zeolite washi paper. To your right and left, there are entrances to bathing rooms, with pink or blue Japanese style Noren curtains made of Iyo Kasuri fabric. Iyo is an old term for Ehime area, and Kasuri is a type of textile made of dyed yarn. The Iyo Kasuri is one of the three main kinds of kasuri in Japan.
Inside the Facility
Enter the main baths, and you will find a hand-painted Tobe ware (Ehime’s traditional craft) porcelain mural. Scenes from poems related to Dōgo are painted on three sides of the bathing rooms. Not only are they beautiful, but they’re also fun. Using projection- mapping technology, flying birds and change of seasons are projected onto the main mural. Projection mapping takes place for three minutes every 30 minutes.
At the outdoor baths, you’ll find murals made of Hime Hinoki or Japanese cypress grown in the nature-abundant Shikoku mountains. You’ll find lanterns made of Kikuma-Gawara or traditional Japanese tile roof material, which was used to make Ehime’s Matsuyama Castle.
At the “Dōgo Onsen Honkan” there is a private bathing room only open for the Japanese imperial family, but at Asuka-no-Yu, the replica bath is available. On the ceiling of a special private bathing room 2, you will find paintings depicting the Imperial family’s design. When taking this bath, people can wear a special summer kimono-type robe called the “Dōgo yuchō” that was formerly used by the upper class when they took baths. Available in three different colors and made out of polyester, the kimono doesn’t soak up water, stick to your skin, or make you feel chilly when you get out.
The hot spring water used in this facility is purely natural. No water is added nor is it warmed up artificially. The hot spring’s temperature is made just right by mixing hot spring water from 18 different sources.
The large 100-meter square public lounge that is made of 60 tatami mats is the place used by families and friends to meet again after they dip into the hot spring. Elegant Ozu handcrafted washi paper (Ehime's traditional craft) shades are hung on the ceiling.
They also have five private rooms each depicting legends related to Dōgo with traditional arts. All the rooms are unique and crafted carefully. For example, in the Shirasagi-no-Ma or egret room, there is an illustration of a miraculous story of a sick bird recovering after soaking into Dōgo’s hot springs. In the Tamanashi-no-Ma, a legend is drawn using the Tsutsugaki paste dyeing technique where a rice paper cylinder is filled with rice and dye and squeezed out by hand.
There are four different price packages available. If you just want to use the bath and not the public lounge, then it’s 610 yen for adults and 300 yen for children. If you also want to use the open lounge, it’s 1,280 yen for adults and 630 yen for children and comes with a service of tea and Japanese sweets. If you want to use a private resting room, it’s 1690 yen for adults, 830 yen for children. Lastly, if you're going to use the private bathing room, it’s an additional 2,400 yen for 1 group.
There is a time limit to how long you can stay at the facility, and it’s 90 minutes. It is open from 6 AM to 11 PM. (It’s different depending on the courses.)
Dōgo Onsen and Matsuyama Areas
Dōgo Onsen is a hot spring located in the northeastern outskirts of the city of Matsuyama, Ehime Prefecture. It was the favorite retreat of a renowned Japanese writer Natsume Sōseki, and he writes about it in his book, Botchan. A sightseeing steam engine called the "Botchan train" is named after the book and operates on two lines. One goes from Dōgo Onsen Station to Komachi Station, and the other takes passengers from Dōgo Onsen station to Matsuyama City station. After soaking in the baths at Asuka-no-Yu, try going to Matsuyama city using the Botchan train.
The city of Matsuyama is Ehime’s capital city and the largest city in Shikoku. The city is known for Matsuyama castle, one of Japan’s 12 original castles, which becomes a beautiful cherry blossom-viewing spot in the spring. It’s located on top of a hill, but access is easy with a ropeway and chairlift. Once you arrive at the castle, you can view the entire city and the Seto-Inland Sea.
The Botchan Ressha Train is a replica of the original Iyo Railway locomotive of 1888 which had be...
Ride the plane from Tokyo to Ehime’s Matsuyama airport (1.5 hours). From Matsuyama airport, take the Matsuyama Airport Limousine Bus bound for Dōgo Onsen Station (about 40 minutes).
Dōgo Onsen Annex Asuka-no-Yu
Address: 19-22 Dōgo Yunomachi, Matsuyama, Ehime 790-0842
Dogo Onsen holds about 3000 years of history, and is one of the most famous hot springs in Japan....