The Ultimate Weekend in Matsuyama, Japan: How to Make the Most of 48 Hours

Imagine stepping off the train into a city where time seems to have paused, allowing tradition and modernity to mingle in a harmonious dance. Welcome to Matsuyama, a gem in the heart of Shikoku, Japan, where a weekend can unfold into an unforgettable tapestry of experiences. With just 48 hours in this charming city, every moment counts, so let’s dive into how you can make the absolute most of your weekend in Matsuyama.

Day 1: Embracing History and Culture

Morning: Matsuyama Castle

Start your day with a visit to the majestic Matsuyama Castle. Perched atop Katsuyama Hill, it offers a panoramic view of the city and the Seto Inland Sea. The ropeway ride up is an adventure in itself. Once at the top, explore the castle’s historical treasures and take a moment to breathe in the serenity of the past.

Afternoon: Dogo Onsen

After a morning of exploration, it’s time to unwind at Dogo Onsen, one of Japan’s oldest Hot Springs. The main building, Dogo Onsen Honkan, is a cultural icon, said to have inspired the famous film ‘Spirited Away’. Soak in the healing waters and let the warmth envelop you in pure relaxation.

Evening: Dogo Onsen Shopping Arcade

As dusk falls, stroll through the lively Dogo Onsen Shopping Arcade. Here, you’ll find an array of local crafts and delicious street food. Don’t miss out on trying the jakoten, a local fish cake delicacy. It’s a flavor you won’t forget!

Day 2: Nature and Nostalgia

Morning: Ishite-ji Temple

Day two begins with a spiritual visit to Ishite-ji Temple, a sacred site on the Shikoku Pilgrimage. Its rustic charm and ancient statues tell tales of pilgrims who’ve walked this path for centuries. The temple’s peaceful atmosphere is perfect for some quiet reflection.

Afternoon: Tobe Zoo

Next, venture to Tobe Zoo, a short drive from the city center. It’s a hit with families and animal lovers alike. The zoo’s commitment to conservation is evident, and the variety of species is impressive. It’s a delightful way to connect with nature’s wonders.

Evening: Matsuyama Cityscape

As your weekend in Matsuyama draws to a close, take an evening walk along the city’s charming streets. The blend of traditional architecture and modern life creates a picturesque scene. Find a cozy izakaya and savor some local sake as you reflect on your adventures.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What’s the best way to get around Matsuyama?

    Public transportation in Matsuyama is efficient and user-friendly. The trams and buses cover most tourist spots. For a more scenic route, consider renting a bicycle.

  • Is Matsuyama Castle accessible for those with mobility issues?

    Yes, there’s a ropeway and a chairlift that provide easier access to the castle. The grounds also have paved paths suitable for wheelchairs.

  • Are there any language barriers for English-speaking tourists?

    While English is not widely spoken, locals are incredibly hospitable. Key tourist spots often have English signage, and using a translation app can also help bridge any gaps.


Your weekend in Matsuyama is bound to be a whirlwind of culture, history, and natural beauty. From the heights of Matsuyama Castle to the depths of Dogo Onsen’s hot Springs, every moment is a step through a city that gracefully balances the echoes of the past with the pulse of the present. Whether you’re soaking in spiritual vibes at Ishite-ji Temple or making furry friends at Tobe Zoo, Matsuyama offers a slice of Japan that’s both profound and profoundly beautiful.

As you board your train home, the memories of Matsuyama will linger like the subtle taste of local sake. It’s a place that doesn’t just offer sights to see but experiences to be lived. So, when you’re planning your next weekend getaway, remember that Matsuyama is not just a destination; it’s a journey through the heart of Japan.

And who knows? This weekend might just be the beginning of a lifelong love affair with a city that’s full of surprises. Here’s to Matsuyama – where every second counts, and every moment is a story waiting to be told.

Kurby Team

The Kurby Content Team is a diverse group of seasoned real estate experts dedicated to providing insightful, reliable information for homebuyers, real estate investors, and real estate agents. With backgrounds ranging from real estate brokerage, property investment, and residential home buying, our team combines decades of experience with a passion for demystifying the real estate world. We at Kurby are committed to helping you make informed, successful real estate decisions. Whether you're a first-time homebuyer, a seasoned investor, or a real estate professional, count on the Kurby Content Team to deliver the most relevant, actionable real estate content you need.