Cherry blossom and the Matsuyama Castle, Shikoku, Japan, Asia

Getty Images/Robert Harding World Imagery


Top choice in Ehime Prefecture

Perched on top of Mt Katsuyama in the centre of town, the castle dominates the city, as it has for centuries. Matsuyama-jō is one of Japan's finest surviving castles, and one of the very few with anything interesting to peruse inside: the castle has a treasure trove of artefacts with excellent English-language displays. A ropeway (one way/return ¥270/510) is on hand to whisk you up the hill, though there is a pleasant pathway if you prefer to walk.

It's worth walking down via the back slopes of the castle and stopping off at Ninomaru Shiseki Tei-en in the outer citadel of the fort, consisting of old gardens and modern water features.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Ehime Prefecture attractions

1. Ninomaru Shiseki Tei-en

0.17 MILES

Walk down the back slopes of the castle hill (Katsuyama) to stroll around the Ninomaru Shiseki Tei-en, which were built in the outer citadel of the castle…

2. Yuzuki-jō Museum

1.16 MILES

On display here are various relics of the Yuzuki-jō, the former residence of the Kōno clan that oversaw Iyo province in feudal times.

3. Botchan Karakuri Clock


At the start of the arcade at Dōgo Onsen you can check out Botchan Karakuri Clock, which was erected as part of Dōgo Onsen Honkan's centennial in 1994. It…

4. Dōgo-kōen

1.24 MILES

A small park containing the site of Yuzuki-jō, the former residence of the Kōno clan that ruled Iyo province in feudal times. Articles unearthed during…

5. Shiki Memorial Museum

1.27 MILES

This memorial museum celebrates the life and work of Matsuyama-born poet Masaoka Shiki (1867–1902), as well as the history of Matsuyama. Shiki initiated…

6. Isaniwa-jinja

1.39 MILES

Designated a National Treasure, this shrine was modelled on Kyoto's Iwashimizu-Hachimangū and was built in 1667. It's located a short walk east of Dōgo…

7. Temple 51: Ishite-ji

1.81 MILES

East of Dōgo Onsen is Ishite-ji, the 51st of the 88 Temples and one of the most impressive in the circuit. Ishite means 'stone hand' and comes from a…

8. Temple 45: Iwaya-ji

17.3 MILES

Pilgrims will be hoofing it through Shikoku's mountainous interior to get here, but you'll want your own wheels if you're not a henro to get to the…