If you’re close to Matsuyama’s JR station around lunchtime, and you’re in need of a quick and easy bite to eat, Sosai Shiki (創彩子規) restaurant in the hulking Hotel Sunroute is a good option. If you’re there on a weekday, you’ll see a constant stream of office workers in white shirts and dark trousers perusing the menu outside and the glass case with its sample Today’s Special. The reason why it attracts office workers is simple— Sosai Shiki Restaurant boasts a “one-coin lunch”, a popular term for ¥500 items.
Hotel Sunroute appears to have been built in the late 70s, and its basic look and feel hasn’t been updated much since, not that it’s a bad thing. It’s well kept and it has a certain flair of its own. The restaurant is up a flight of stairs on the second floor, with an outside entrance and another inside the lobby. You have a choice of smoking and non-smoking seats, which are divided by a rather inadequate low panel. Inoffensive classical music plays in the background.
There are a total of six one-coin offerings, including Japanese standards like udon noodles, inarizushi, curry and rice, and eel on rice. There are more expensive set meals too at ¥1,000 and up. All the meals include a choice of drinks such as coffee and fruit juices which you can take freely. I chose the slightly unusual pork cutlet domburi. Five hundred yen buys you a decent-sized bowl of rice topped with a good quantity of bite-size pork cutlets and battered green vegetables. This is drizzled with a sweetish soy-based sauce. There’s also a small bowl of miso soup with seaweed and tofu, and some salty piquant pickles. It makes a pleasant, economical meal.
Of particular interest to travelers is the free Wi-Fi. I had a bit of a struggle getting a link, but I succeeded eventually.
The restaurant is named after one of Matsuyama’s famous sons, the haiku poet Masaoka Shiki. If you want to learn more about the poet, you can visit Shikido, a little museum about him near Matsuyama City Station, or the Shiki Memorial Museum in Dogo.