Japan's Oldest Hot Spring Known for Studio Ghibli's Spirited Away in Ehime Prefecture - Dogo Onsen
Shikoku / chugoku
A Japanese Hot Spring with More Than 3000 Years of History
Dogo Onsen (道後温泉), located in Ehime Prefecture, is one of the oldest of three hot springs in Japan (including Shirahama Onsen (白浜温泉) in Wakayama Prefecture and Arima Onsen (有馬温泉) in Gunma Prefecture). What makes this hot spring different amongst others is that the building is the same as it was when it was built in 1893. Being an important cultural asset to Japan, it has a myth of its waters having "healing powers" for some of Japan's greatest deities. There are many things to see at Dogo Onsen, but the main thing people come to visit is the Dogo Onsen Honkan which is said to be part of the inspiration from Studio Ghibli's "Spirited Away". If you can remember the stunning beauty where Chihiro (or Sen) worked, you can see why so many people want to come to this hot spring.
- Dogo Onsen's allurement is its exquisite and ancient architecture.
- Not only is Dogo Onsen popular among tourists, but Japan's Imperial Family yearly come to relax. You can even take a tour of the bath that is only available to the Imperial Family.
Exploring Japan's Shikoku Region
Japan's Shikoku Region (四国) consists of four prefectures: Kagawa Prefecture, Tokushima Prefecture, Kochi Prefecture, and Ehime Prefecture. Shikoku is more of a little island, being separated from Japan's main island across the Inland Sea but there are three bridges taking you to and from Kobe, Okayama, and Hiroshima.
Being a small area surrounded by the sea, you can really see the benefits of its special nature magnificent landscapes. There are loads of nature trails that lead you around some interesting shrines and temples making it a popular tourist site for many Westerners looking for something different.
For more information check out our road trip around Shikoku
- A popular souvenir from Dogo Onsen, Japanese senbei (rice crackers) with Dogo Onsen printed on it.
- If you like Japanese hot springs, there are plenty of places to go and relax in Shikoku so don't leave that out of your trip!
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