Matsuyama Museum Guide

Inside Saka no Ue no Kumo Museum

A variety of museums can be found in Matsuyama. The city is especially rich in literary talent and history. The 20th century in particular saw Matsuyama rise to prominence in Japan's literary realm. Three important writers were either born in the city, or chose it as home for themselves and their characters.

The first is a poet, Masaoka Shiki (1867-1902), born and raised in Matsuyama. He adopted the name Shiki (meaning "blood") after contracting tuberculosis as a young man. Shiki was an advocate of modernizing the old Japanese poetic forms, and he eventually introduced modern forms of Haiku and Tanka for this purpose.

The second major figure in Matsuyama's literary trio is Natsume Soseki (1987-1916), a prolific Meiji Period novelist and friend of Shiki. He is best known for a novel entitled "Botchan", set in Matsuyama and featuring locations around the city. "Botchan" follows the life of a young teacher who moves to Matsuyama as Meiji Period reforms sweep the country. The novel was written in 1906 and is now often read as part of the Japanese school curriculum. As a result of the novel's wide readership, Matsuyama and its sights are well known across Japan.

Western interior of Bansuiso

Finally, there is Shiba Ryotaro, a novelist born in 1923, who often wrote about the Edo and Meiji Periods. One of his later novels entitled "Saka no Ue no Kumo", or "Clouds Over the Hill", features Matsuyama City and includes both Shiki and Soseki as characters.

Shiki, Soseki and Ryotaro are fondly regarded by the residents of Matsuyama and visitors to the city today can find museums and monuments remembering them and commemorating their works. Here are several places of interest in Matsuyama, some of which are related to the city's famed literary trio:

Shiki Memorial Museum
Hours: 9:00 to 18:00 (until 17:00 from November to April)
Closed: Tuesdays
Admission: 400 yen
This museum commemorates the life of Masaoka Shiki and celebrates his works through displays of letters, manuscripts, books and other belongings. The museum also showcases some exhibits about the culture and history of Matsuyama and about "Botchan", the novel written by Shiki's friend Natsume Soseki. A fair amount of English signs make the museum accessible to foreign visitors.

Hours: 8:30 to 17:00
Closed: No closing days
Admission: 50 yen
Shikido is a replica of Masaoka Shiki's former home which exhibits photographs, writings and items belonging to him. Visitors can see the desk which Shiki used to work at. Shikido stands on the grounds of a temple. One of the oldest extant "Botchan" steam trams is put on display just next to the Shikido.

Saka no Ue no Kumo Museum
Hours: 9:00 to 18:30
Closed: Mondays (or following day if Monday is a national holiday)
Admission: 400 yen
This museum is devoted to the novel "Saka no Ue no Kumo" by Shiba Ryotaro. It is housed in an intriguingly attractive, triangular building designed by renowned architect Ando Tadao, which can make a visit worth even to those unfamiliar with the novel. On display are explanations about the novel's plot, characters and locations, including maps and pictures of Edo Period Matsuyama. An English pamphlet and audio guide (100 yen) are available.

Hours: 9:00 to 18:00
Closed: Mondays (except national holidays)
Admission: 300 yen
Bansuiso is an elegant French style building constructed in 1922 by a descendant of Matsuyama's feudal lord lineage, after he had returned from military studies in France. The building is now open to the public, and visitors can see its interior, which is built to closely follow Western architecture of that time.

Ehime Prefectural Museum of Art
Hours: 9:40 to 18:00
Closed: Mondays (or following day if Monday is a national holiday or the first Monday of the month), Dec 29 to Jan 3
Admission: 300 yen (permanent collection)
The Ehime Prefectural Museum of Art displays a sizable collection of art pieces by both Ehime Prefecture's citizens and European artists, including paintings, posters, drawings and Nihonga (Japanese-style paintings). In addition, the museum periodically hosts temporary exhibitions of art of various themes.

Itami Juzo Museum
Hours: 10:00 to 18:00
Closed: Tuesdays (or following day if Tuesday is a holiday), New Year holidays
Admission: 800 yen
This museum is devoted to film maker Itami Juzo who is best known for his movies "Tampopo" and "The Funeral". On exhibit are props that demonstrate Juzo's film-making methods, posters of his movies, as well as visual clips and scripts of his more famous works. The museum also features a small, tasteful central garden, which visitors can appreciate whilst taking a break at the in-house cafe. Unfortunately, there is close to no English information available at the museum.

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Get There and Around

Shiki Memorial Museum

The museum stands a few steps from Dogo Onsen tram station, the terminus of three tram lines. From JR Matsuyama Station, take tram line 5 (20 minutes, 160 yen). From Matsuyama-shi Station, take tram line 3 (15 minutes, 160 yen).


Shikido is a five minute walk south of Matsuyama-shi Station, on the grounds of Seishu Temple.

Saka no Ue no Kumo Museum

The museum is located in the city center at the foot of Matsuyama Castle, a two minute walk from Okaido tram stop. Okaido can be reached by tram line 5 from JR Matsuyama Station (10 minutes, 160 yen) or by tram line 2 or 3 from Matsuyama-shi Station (5 minutes, 160 yen).


Bansuiso is a five minute walk uphill northwest of the Saka no Ue no Kumo Museum.

Ehime Prefectural Museum of Art

The museum is located at the southwestern foot of Matsuyama Castle. It is a five minute walk from Manamihoribata tram stop, which is served by all five of Matsuyama's tram lines.

Itami Juzo Museum

The Itami Juzo Museum is located at a slight distance away from the city center. Take the Iyotetsu Railways from Matsuyama-shi Station and alight at Iyotachibana Station (four minutes, 160 yen). From Iyotachibana Station, it is a 20 minute walk to the museum.

How to get to and around Matsuyama

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Page last updated: July 25, 2016