Dogo Shopping Arcade, otherwise known as Dogo Haikara-dori or Dogo Shotengai, runs from Dogo Station, taking a sharp right at Tsubaki no Yu onsen, and heading up a slight incline to the famous Dogo Onsen Honkan. The arcade is in many ways a shameless tourist trap – it has numerous shops dedicated to souvenirs and trinkets. But when I found myself wanting a slightly Japanese-y umbrella without paying an excessively high price, I found exactly what I wanted in Dogo Arcade. As I made my way down the arcade, I was attracted by a sale at a kimono shop and remembered that I needed an obi sash for my autumn festival outfit, and I was able to negotiate a nice price in one of the long-established stores there.
If you’re in Dogo and hungry, the arcade is the place to go. There are a number of shops with stalls in front where you can buy hot snacks to fill a gap. I find it hard to pass the grilled mochi stall without buying a stick of the healthy rice cakes with one of several wholesome natural flavors. But if you’re looking for something more substantial, there are ramen and noodle shops and also the very stylish Dogo no Machiya, a baker’s and restaurant in an old merchant’s house, complete with courtyard gardens. This is just one of several attractive cafés in the arcade.
One shop that is bound to catch the eye of visitors is the Studio Ghibli store near the top of the arcade. The Totoro figures outside the shop are no doubt familiar to many people, but there’s much more inside that is likely to be new and rather wonderful. The fantastic creations of Hayao Miyazaki have been worked into useful items such as plant holders which make very desirable gifts. The prices are quite affordable too.
When you’re in Matsuyama, a ride on the tram or Botchan Train to Dogo with a stroll up the arcade is really a must. You can combine relaxed shopping, eating and sightseeing with a dip in one of two historical onsens. The arcade is completely covered, offering protection from the sun in summer and the wind and rain in winter. And if you’re up for a little cosplay, you can even walk the arcade in a yukata robe and geta sandals borrowed from Dogo Onsen Honkan.