Matsuyama Youth Hostel

Sunday, January 20, 2013
Over the long weekend of January 12, 13, 14 (Monday the 14th being Coming-of-Age Day in Japan), my partner and I did a short tour of the island of Shikoku, hiring a rental car.

Matsuyama Youth Hostel, Shikoku.
Matsuyama Youth Hostel
Accommodation in Japan is never very cheap, and I have had bad experiences of cheapish accommodation looking a lot better online than it is in reality - and even one awful little place in Nikko that suddenly announced - just as we were settling the bill - a "heating charge" of 500 yen  for oppressively hot heating that had kept us awake all night and that we had tried in vain to turn off.

So instead of committing ourselves beforehand to substandard accommodation, we took the risk this time of simply arriving and booking a room: a risk substantially softened by our having a car, and thus the option of driving off somewhere else to look.

Dogo Onsen, Matsuyama

We had good luck, especially on our last night, in Matsuyama, after trying Matsuyama's famous Dogo Onsen natural hot spring facility.

Dogo Onsen features in the very famous novel Botchan (1906) by the author Natsume Soseki. We took the cheapest option - the communal bath - and found it to be very unremarkable: much like any somewhat grotty old bathhouse in any old neighborhood in Japan, but somewhat bigger in scale. Strictly one for those into pre-1980s nostalgia.

Anyway, we followed our short visit to Dogo Onsen with a short drive up the hill behind it to the big, canary yellow Matsuyama Youth Hostel. Fortunately they had a room available, and after our lackluster experience at the Dogo Onsen, we decided to splash out a little, and got the private "Himetsuka" room on the third floor.

The proprietor was cheery, the decor was homely and comfortable: with a cluttered but clean common room with couches, a library, and internet-connected computers. Our room was spacious and clean and had its own toilet. The bath/shower required going out of the room, but was private and lockable. One particularly good thing about the Matsuyama Youth Hostel is the instant hot water and excellent water pressure.

Dogo Onsen, Matsuyama

We slept all right: admittedly, though, my partner better than me. I found the beds extremely hard. While they look like normal beds, they consist of tatami matting, instead of a sprung base, with a futon-style mattress on top. Even with two such mattresses, I woke up the next morning feeling a little sore. The point is, though, I did sleep. Being at the top of a hill a little away from the Dogo Onsen business area, it was very quiet at night.

Breakfast was an option included for a few extra hundred yen and was well worth it, being a hearty buffet spread covering most of the Japanese and Western breakfast staples.

Clean, spacious, homey, comfortable, cheerful, and cheap - the Matsuyama Youth Hostel is definitely one to try for yourself and recommend to others.

Matsuyama Youth Hostel
22-3 Himezuka Otsu
Ehime Prefecture


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