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MatsuyamaGo to Slide Show

A city with deep cultural history

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Dogo Onsen

Side Of Dogo Onsen At NightDogo Onsen had been making yen for about a thousand years when us western centric critics decided to roll over the calendar from BC to AD ( or BCE, CE if that's your persuation).  The myth goes that a crane with a wounded leg was observed to land here and then flew off miraculosly cured - what a great spot to turn into a bath!

Dogo Onsen At NightFront Of Dogo Onsen At Night

We arrived too late for an evening bath so we decided to stroll around the neighborhood and check out the sights.   Besides a well equipted but quickly closing mall we found a large part with what appeared to be worlds largest Hanami going on.

Women Alone On Bench
Unlike most of the other gatherings under cherry blossums, this one seemed to have decided corporate culture to it.  The mats were uniform, many of the groups had the same barbeque's and we didn't see many children of any age. 

 Shoes Off MatStalls Selling Things

  Lanterns In SakuraSingle Lantern With Blossums BehindLit Up Castle At Night

Turns out (we later figured out) Kirin beer was sponsoring the event.

Hanami Fuel

We wandered back to the hostel and slept well.  We woke up early for a soak at Dogo Onsen (no photos) and then a bit of wandering around Matsuyama's major sights.


Floutist In Temple
I've seen a lot of temples in Japan but Ishite-ji is by far the strangest.  This temple complex has embraced every other sect it could find in a patchwork of different styles.  The complex itself has a number smaller buildings when you enter including a pagoda it's know for.  There is a cave that leads to a number of small shrines and statues and then you enter the back area where more shrines and statues are kept.  Around every corner seems to be something stranger or more out of place.

Statue In TunnelBuddha Under SakuraWood Carved JizoVery Thin Meditation

But the usual temple things are here.  This temple has Jizo statues - statues or markers for the protection of travelers or children.  I've seen Jizo for travelers in Nikko, but these ones are definitly meant for children.

Jizo With Baby BibbsStatue With ChildSpinning Pin Wheel

Ultimatly, this is temple 51 of 88 on the pilgrimage route around Shikoku.  While we were there we saw bus loads of pilgrims disembarking, praying and then leaving and the old solo pilgrim walk in and take his or her time at the complex.  The solo pilgrims are often doing the route by foot and will take weeks to complete the whole route.

Giant SandalPilgrim Around Temples
I interupted one pilgrim to ask for a photo.  Turns out he spoke english and had been to Canada before on the crazy 10 day (Niagra falls, Banff, Jasper, Vancouver) iteneray that is so popular.  After I took his photo he kindly offered to take my photo and then handed me his hat and walking stick.  I was glad I took the time to say hi.

Me As Pilgrim

It was coming up on lunch time and we really needed something to eat.  MOS burger later, we were off to our next destination - Matsutama Castle.

Matsuyama Castle

Matsuyama CastleCastle Over City
I've seen a number of Japanese Castles in my life (Aizu-Wakamatsu Castle, Kumamoto Castle, Matsumoto Castle) and each has it's unique features.  Matsuyama castle had the best city view ever as well as a great collection of cherry blossums.

Cherry Blossums With Castle

We were fortunate when we picked our day - today there was a festival going on in the castle courtyard, but it was hardly traditional.

Finding Nemo Rock Paper Scissors
It was  a competive rock paper scisors compition.  Basically, different community groups (Schools, sports teams, community clubs) would enter three contestants.  In a highly ritualized compition, on player from each team would face off in a rock paper scisors duel - the side that lost replaced the player with another until one side lost all three players.

We had a great day in Matsuyama, but we really had to get going - we were expected in Kochi for dinner and we still had half an island to cross. 

Next: Kochi

Lit Up Castle At Night
Tags: castle, Japan, night
Stalls Selling Things
Tags: Japan, street food
Hanami Fuel
Tags: hanami, Japan
Me As Pilgrim
Person: John
Side Of Dogo Onsen At Night
Tags: architectural decoration, hot spring, Japan, night
Giant Sandal
Tags: architectural decoration, Japan, temple
Wood Carved Jizo
Tags: art, Japan
Castle Over City
Location: Go To...
Tags: castle, cherry blossoms, city
Lanterns In Sakura
Tags: cherry blossoms, lantern
Matsuyama Castle
Tags: castle, cherry blossoms
Cherry Blossums With Castle
Tags: castle, cherry blossoms
Spinning Pin Wheel
Tags: Japan, pinwheel, statue
Pilgrim Around Temples
Tags: Japan, portrait, temple
Jizo With Baby Bibbs
Tags: Japan, statue
Statue With Child
Tags: Japan, statue
Women Alone On Bench
Tags: bench, cherry blossoms, Japan, night
Single Lantern With Blossums Behind
Tags: cherry blossoms, lantern
Very Thin Meditation
Tags: Japan, place of worship, statue
Dogo Onsen At Night
Tags: hot spring, Japan
Statue In Tunnel
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Shoes Off Mat
Tags: hanami, Japan, night
Finding Nemo Rock Paper Scissors
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Buddha Under Sakura
Tags: Buddha, cherry blossoms, Japan, statue
Front Of Dogo Onsen At Night
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Floutist In Temple
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Tags: Japan(19), cherry blossoms(7), statue(6), castle(4), night(4), architectural decoration(3)
People: John(1)
From: John Harvey Photo > Trips out of the Country > A Third Trip to Japan > Matsuyama

Those Jizo are for babies that were lost during pregnancy... either during childbirth, abortion, or other loss... Used to live in Matsuyama for several years and first time I went there I was taking pictures of the "jizo" and got admonished for being very insensitive. This is one of the only places where the mothers can go to mourn their lost children...
Thursday, April 19th, 2007 at 19:00:00

I've been to Matsuyama. It is indeed a lovely place. My wife is from there (I am an American). I was at the temple of the giant sandal when a religious event was happening. Wow, did they get into it. So did my wife. I almost lost her in the crowd. They dive bombed for the rice cakes the officials of the city were tossing out from the podium. She got several so she was happy.
Friday, June 15th, 2007 at 12:01:36

You wrote: "today there was a festival going on in the castle courtyard, but it was hardly traditional" yet Rock Paper Scissors is very much a big part of Japan. Everyone, no matter their age, plays it at some time to decide who is going to do what. It may be here in our culture as well, but that does not mean it is not part of another culture. Anyone know where it originated anyway?
Saturday, April 12th, 2008 at 18:43:20

It is my understanding, as an elementary school teacher in the U.S.A, that Rock-Paper-Scissors originated in China.
Monday, October 13th, 2008 at 03:07:25

hello matsutama i miss you
jane lopez
Wednesday, February 25th, 2009 at 01:58:23

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