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Dōgo Onsen (道後温泉) / Japanese Hot Springs

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3091/3201228520_2a23366da6.jpg
(Dōgo Onsen located in the center od Matsuyama City)

Dōgo Onsen (道後温泉) is a hot spring in the city of Matsuyama, Ehime Prefecture on the island of Shikoku, Japan.
Dōgo Onsen is Japan's possibly oldest and certainly most famous hot spring, located only a few kilometres from the centre of Matsuyama, in the prefecture of Ehime on the western coast of the island of Shikoku.
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/8/83/D%C5%8Dgo_Onsen.jpg/800px-D%C5%8Dgo_Onsen.jpg
(Dōgo Onsen located in the center od Matsuyama City)

History

Dōgo Onsen is one of the oldest (arguably the oldest) and best-known onsen hot springs in Japan, with a history stretching back over 3,000 years. The springs are mentioned in the Man'yōshū (written c. 759), and according to legend even Prince Shotoku (574-622) used to partake of the waters.

Dōgo Onsen was also the favorite retreat of writer Natsume Sōseki (1867-1916) when he was working near Matsuyama as a teacher in what was at the time rural Shikoku. In Soseki's loosely autobiographical novel Botchan, the eponymous main character is a frequent visitor to the springs, the only place he likes in the area.

Modern haiku poet Masaoka Shiki (1867-1902), a noted critic of Matsuo Bashō (1644-1694), was also a resident of Dōgo Onsen. His poems are prominently inscribed in many places around town.

Present

The present building of the Dōgo Onsen public bath was built in 1894. Built on three levels for maximum capacity, the baths remain extremely popular and are usually crowded at peak times, i.e. around 6 p.m. before dinner.

While Dōgo is largely engulfed in the suburban sprawl of modern-day Matsuyama, the area around Dōgo retains the feeling of a resort town, with guests from all over the country wandering the streets in yukata robes after their bath. Dōgo is easily accessible from central Matsuyama by tram, and has regular bus services to and from both the air and ferry ports.

In popular culture, it should be noted that "The main building in the movie Spirited Away was modeled on the present building of the Dōgo Onsen public bathhouse".

Dōgo Onsen (道後温泉) Map by Google

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By TS on Jul 24, 2011
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