Hotel Patio Dogo

On the doorstep of Japan's oldest hot spring

By Tony Mariani    - 3 min read

In the center of busy Matsuyama lies the famous Dogo Onsen, Japan’s oldest hot spring. The hot spring is a magnet for Japanese who want to escape to the hot spring waters and enjoy their rejuvenating effects. The symbol of the hot spring is the crane. Tradition tells a story of the spring being found by observing a crane that was injured but cured after soaking in the hot spring waters.

Right next to Dogo Onsen Honkan is the Hotel Patio Dogo. Patio Dogo is aptly named. It's literally just a few steps away from Japan’s oldest hot spring.

Entering the lobby of Patio Dogo is an experience. It's very modern, well-lit and made to appear larger with a wall of mirrors. Opposite the check-in desk is a glass wall with a Japanese rock garden beyond. Water and coffee are provided for guests in the lobby. The elevators from the lobby are modern and fast.

The rooms in Patio Dogo are small. This is typical for a Japanese hotel, however you have an impressive view of Dogo Onsen Honkan. The hotel stands overlooking the onsen and you can see right into it. It's a look into old Japan. You can see people relaxing in their yukata after soaking in the rejuvenating hot spring, then enjoying a cool evening breeze while sipping Japanese green tea.

Although the rooms in Patio Dogo are small, they're bright, well-lit and comfortable enough that you don’t feel boxed in. Each room is provided with the traditional Japanese yukata that is worn to the hot spring. There's also sandals and a woven basket used to carry your accessories to the bath. These provisions are a must for a visit to Japan’s oldest onsen.

Breakfast is not included in the price of your stay. That’s not a problem as the hotel is near the shopping district, and Lawson’s convenience store is just a few steps away. The hotel features a restaurant serving lunch and dinner. The food looks good and well prepared. There is also free Wi-Fi, and cable TV with paid programming available.

The hotel has its own parking garage. The garage is a vertical carousel. Guests cue up and are guided into the car’s cradle. After driving the car into the carousel, the car is then lifted above and a space for the next car is left for the next guest to visit. You are given a ticket so when you need your car next, they can press a button and the car is rotated into place. The driver carefully exits the garage, then guided onto a round steel plate which rotates the vehicle so the driver can drive straight out without backing up. This is needed because the garage is near the entrance and the safety of guests and passers-by is important. This is all done with famous Japanese attention to detail and courtesy.

I would recommend this hotel to anyone visiting Matsuyama who also wants to experience the oldest hot spring in Japan, Dogo Onsen.

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Tony Mariani

Tony Mariani @tony.mariani

An American married to a lovely woman from Matsuyama, Ehime Prefecture. I first visited Japan in 1995 on business and have loved Japan and the Japanese since then. When in Japan, live like the Japanese and embrace their culture with respect and admiration. 

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