By Plane -- Flights connect Matsuyama with Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya, Fukuoka, Sapporo, Kumamoto, Kagoshima, and Okinawa. The flight from Tokyo takes 1 hour and 25 minutes and costs ¥32,000 for a one-way ticket, though tickets purchased for certain flights at least 28 days in advance can run as low as ¥13,300. Buses connect the airport to downtown in 30 minutes for ¥400.
By Train -- The easiest way to reach Matsuyama is by JR train from Okayama (on Honshu island), with 15 departures daily; the trip takes 2 hours and 40 minutes, and the fare is ¥6,120. There are also hourly departures from Takamatsu, taking about 2 1/2 hours and costing ¥5,500.
By Bus -- A JR bus (tel. 03/3844-1950; www.jrbuskanto.co.jp) departs nightly from Tokyo Station at 8:20pm and a Nishi Tokyo Bus (tel. 03/5376-2222) departs nightly from Shinjuku Station at 7:10pm; they arrive respectively at Matsuyama Station the next day at 8:36am and at Matsuyama Shieki (City Station) at 7:10am. One-way fare for either is ¥12,000.
By Boat -- Matsuyama is also linked by ferry to several ports on Honshu and Kyushu islands, including Osaka (overnight: 8 2/3 hr.), Oita (near Beppu; 3 3/4 hr.), and Hiroshima (70 min. by high-speed boat). The fare to Matsuyama is ¥6,300 from Osaka, ¥6,900 from Hiroshima and ¥3,200 from Beppu. Boats dock at Matsuyama Port (Matsuyama Kanko Ko), where buses transport passengers to Matsuyama Station in about 20 minutes for ¥45.
The Matsuyama City Tourist Information Office (tel. 089/931-3914; daily 8:30am-8:30pm) is inside JR Matsuyama Station to the left as you exit the wicket. Be sure to pick up the booklet "Shikoku Passport"; although in Japanese only, it provides many discounts on attractions, hotels, and restaurants. The Dogo Tourist Information Center (tel. 089/943-8342; daily 8am-8pm) is across the street from the Dogo Onsen streetcar stop. The Ehime Prefectural International Center (EPIC), located between Matsuyama Castle and Dogo Onsen (tel. 089/917-5678; www.epic.or.jp; Mon-Sat 8:30am-5pm), provides information on Ehime Prefecture, including Uchiko, Tobe, and the Shimanami Kaido cycling path. You'll also find English-language newspapers and three computers you can use for free. To reach EPIC, take streetcar no. 3, 5, or 6 heading toward Dogo Onsen to the Minami-machi stop. Backtrack and look to the right for the INFORMATION sign with a question mark; the office is in a barrack partially hidden behind another building. More information is available online at www.city.matsuyama.ehime.jp and at www.mcvb.jp/convention, the latter also with good city maps.
In addition to EPIC, above, you can also check e-mail at COMS, on the second floor at 6-4-20 Sanbancho (tel. 089/943-5776; Tues-Sat 9am-8:30pm and Sun/holidays 9am-5pm) for ¥100 an hour. It's a 7-minute walk from either Matsuyama Station or Matsuyama Shieki; or take the streetcar to the Minami-horibata-cho stop. By the way, in the same building is the Matsuyama International Center (tel. 089/943-2025), which also offers information about the area.
Orientation & Getting Around
JR Matsuyama Station, which serves long-distance trains, is on the west edge of town, with most attractions, hotels, shopping, and restaurants spreading to the east. Matsuyama Castle lies less than 2.5km (1 1/2 miles) due east of the station. Just southwest of the castle is the Okaido shopping arcade, a covered pedestrian passageway lined with restaurants and shops and considered to be the heart of the city. Dogo Onsen, Japan's oldest hot-spring spa, is on the eastern edge of the city.
The easiest and most convenient form of transportation in Matsuyama is streetcar. The no. 5 line runs from Matsuyama Station to the Okaido arcade, Matsuyama Castle, and Dogo Onsen. The fare is ¥150 per trip or ¥400 for a 1-day pass (Ichinichi Joshaken). An old-fashioned locomotive-style streetcar nicknamed "Botchan" (after a novel by Natsume Soseki set in Matsuyama) runs between Matsuyama Station and Dogo Onsen. This costs ¥300 per ride, but if you have the 1-day pass you're entitled to one ride for only ¥100.