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Japan's Mystical Bath House: Inside Dogo Onsen
Welcome to Shikoku, one of Japan's 4 main islands.
This time we're in the city of Matsuyama
where I'm going to be … taking a bath.
But it's not just a bath here at historic Dogo Onsen.
Dogo Onsen is Japan's most famous public bath house
with natural hot springs.
So where is Dogo Onsen and Matsuyama?
Shikoku Island
Matsuyama is on the coast of Ehime Prefecture
A scenic ferry ride from Hiroshima or
a 70-minute flight from Tokyo.
Matsuyama Castle is up on the hill
right in the city center.
Just a short tram ride away from here
is Dogo Onsen Station
I'm right down there in front of the Dogo Onsen Honkan
There are loads of attractions here in Matsuyama but
for me, it's all about this
The Dogo Experience
So grab your towel, your yukata and your geta
and let's go!
The best time to go is in the morning.
But before we take a dip in the bath,
let look around the exterior
of this historic and mystical building.
The angles.
The shadows.
The colors.
Every corner has an interesting story to tell.
The back has a fire protected copper roof
which has turned green.
Mostly wood with sliding paper and glass doors.
From day — to night.
Dogo Onsen's exterior is more vibrant
when it's lit up.
At night
it can even get a little spooky.
Never fear. Bath time is here.
Late night bath time at Dogo Onsen!
This is the changing room for men.
I got special permission to film here after hours.
The lockers are free
The key is on a band that goes around your wrist.
In fact, the key is all you'll be wearing.
Here there are amenities like in most public baths.
You can bring your own soap and shampoo
or buy it for a very reasonable price.
We start in the historical TAMA NO YU
or “Bath of the Spirits“ on the 2nd floor.
It's small and requires a pricer ticket
meaning it's less crowded and more private.
It was made for the imperial family members
and their attendants
but now it's for you.
Let's swing over to the ladies KAMI NO YU bath.
It's quite spacious and luxurious
the water spouting from the centre like a fountain.
The tiled art tells the story of Dogo Onsen's history.
And this is the men's general KAMI NO YU bath
where I'll be taking my dip tonight.
so grab a bucket and stool
rinse off
and then get in.
This is the bath.
This is KAMI NO YU.
This is the first bath that people come to
it's open to the general public
without any extra charge
Now the water here is quite deep
deeper than most onsen
If I sit -
It could probably go up to eye level.
Now this water coming out
is natural.
It's coming from the cracks in the earth.
It's been doing that for —
They say for over 3000 years.
You can see on the top a white heron.
The white bird.
The myth goes that the white heron came
here with a broken leg every day
until the waters naturally healed
the heron's leg, and it flew away.
The white heron also known as the Great Egret
is an important symbol of the onsen
highlighting the onsen's healing properties.
It's even on the very top of the building.
I usually stay in the onsen for about 15 minutes.
It was a really special experience to have
the whole bath to myself.
If you want a similar experience
Try going first thing in the morning.
Dogo Onsen opens at 6:00am
to the beat of a taiko drum in the tower.
The first one in gets the bath to themselves.
Just don't expect to be alone for long.
It's usually very crowded by 7am.
Morning and evenings are the busiest times.
This is the general ticket for entrance to the bath only.
You can rent a yukata and have a snack
for an extra charge
which is well worth it for first timers.
Right! So ...
I just finished taking a bath
and I'm here on the 2nd floor lounge area.
It's one big tatami room
with lots of places where people can sit.
and with the course which I purchased
I have a green tea and senbei set
and after soaking in the hot bath
which is about 42 ~ 43°C
being up here on the 2nd floor is great because
you have a cool breeze
coming through the windows
through the openings here.
It feels ...
I love this because
this is a whole experience
it's not just entering the bath
taking a bath, this is
taking a bath, coming up here and relaxing
and completing putting the outside world
in another place
and absorbing
Japan! And absorbing Dogo Onsen and the history.
There's a lot of history, too.
You can't stay the night in this building
but there are loads of ryokan nearby for that.
Visitors come in their hotel yukata
and a basket with their soap and shampoo.
The snack ticket is perfect for those on day trips
who want to get a taste of the experience.
I went upstairs to the 3rd floor to learn more about the onsen
from the manager who is waiting for me
in a private tatami room.
I had loads of questions to ask Shibata-san
starting with this building.
This building is 300 or 400 years old, isn't it?
It seems really old.
This building itself is 122 years old.
Built in 1894.
After renovations and additional construction,
it's what you see now.
On this side it's green — and there, it's black ...
Here (in the back) you can see
the black gradually becomes green
Amazingly, it fits well.
It really does.
The main building is really interesting
to see from the front and probably
from all different angles where you can also see
where the building has evolved
with the new additions over the years.
This building is one building but
when you see it from different angles
it can look like a different building
And that's pretty interesting.
An interesting building like this has
a lot of interesting places.
Shibata-san took me down to the YUSHINDEN
on the east side of the building.
it's reserved for the royal family.
The GYOKUZA NO MA bathroom is used
exclusively for the emperor.
It's interesting to think that the emperor and
the citizens bath in the same house
although he has't been here since 1950.
Maybe it's because of the royal toilet —
No washlet or heated seat here.
Miyazaki's SPIRITED AWAY animation
After seeing it — is there a connection?
I have heard that Hayao Miyazaki had
mentioned Dogo Onsen as one of his inspiration
for the model of the movie.
Of course there was a model of so many building,
but I heard Dogo Onsen was one of them.
I heard it was the building, especially the
KARAHARU wave structure of the roof
at the main building's entrance
and the top of the roof.
You can see where the building's design inspired Ghibli
with the bath house in spirited away.
SPIRITED AWAY won an oscar in 2003
for “Best Animated Feature".
How does Dogo Onsen handle bathers with
Body Art and Tattoos?
I was also surprised to learn that
Japan's oldest onsen is also
tattoo friendly
I feel this is a really are onsen because
tattoos are okay here.
That's right. Tattoos are okay here.
But why here?
At nearly every sent or resort I visited
Bathers with attoos were prohibited.
Tattoos are part of the underworld culture and
and many Japanese citizens fear the sight of them.
So there's a general ban to everyone that's inked.
But how could Japan's oldest and most traditional bath
also be the most welcoming?
Well, different kinds of people come here.
Of course visitors from abroad
and people with tattoos as well
Many types of people visit here
so as part of our hospitality
we decided to welcome all people
even people with tattoos
so everyone can enjoy Dogo Onsen equally.
So there you go!
There's at least one famous onsen for those with tattoos.
You can wear your yukata around the Dogo Onsen streets
where you'll find lots to eat.
Ehime Prefecture is famous for oranges and mikans
and at this shop,
you can get freshly squeezed juice or —
Mikan Beer.
It really hits the spot on those hottest of days.
and then, there's this —
Instead of mochi, it's made from azuki bean paste.
It's named after Soseki Natsume's novel BOCCHAN.
I love the cafe right across form Dogo Onsen
where you can get an amazing view of the building
as well as a cup of matcha,
Matsuyama's famous tart
and a side stick of Bocchan dango.
If you're looking for something harder than tea,
try the Dogo Brewery restaurant across from there.
It serves locally made craft beers —
and food like this plate of
beer infused fried fish paste
which goes great with a brew.
This is my 3rd time to Dogo Onsen
and it certainly won't be my last.
There are many reasons to visit Japan
but if you want to put relaxation in the center
surrounded by history, food and fun —
there are few places better than Dogo Onsen.
See you there.
Next time: Udon Noodle Adventure
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四国・道後温泉を巡る! (Dogo Onsen | Ancient Bath House Secrets Revealed (ONLY in JAPAN))

192 タグ追加 保存
Adrian 2019 年 9 月 7 日 に公開
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