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Ishiteji (Ύ莛), located near Dogo Onsen to the northeast of Matsuyama's city center, is the city's most famous temple. It is number 51 of the 88 temples on the Shikoku Pilgrimage. Pilgrims dressed in white are a frequent sight at this large temple.

Ishiteji's name literally means "stone hand temple", referring to a local legend in which an aristocrat had held a stone tightly in his hand at his death bed after seeking the priest Kobo Daishi to no avail, and was later reborn with the stone still held in the baby's hand.

A tastefully maintained sheltered temple approach lined by shops of wooden facades lead to Ishiteji's temple grounds. The sprawling temple compound boasts several halls and temple buildings, a three-storied pagoda, various statues and an unique inner temple connected to the main grounds via a cave. Interestingly, statues and religious objects are periodically added to the temple.

Ishiteji is known for its Niomon Gate, a designated national treasure. The main hall and pagoda are also designated important cultural properties, and all of these structures exhibit the typical architecture style of the Kamakura Period (1192-1333). A treasure house displays some of the temple's most important artifacts.

Of further interest, Ishiteji hosts a curious looking inner temple located beyond a cave behind the main hall. The dimly lit cave is about 200 meters long and is remarkable by itself, branching off in two directions and housing many Buddhist statues, carvings and drawings.

Visitors who emerge from the cave and cross a street will arrive at the slightly unkempt inner temple grounds, which feature a large, golden dome-shaped hall. The building and statues here reflect a very different, somewhat peculiar, style than those on the main grounds. In particular, carvings and drawings of the historical Buddha Shaka reduced to the bones, just before he gained enlightenment, leave a deep impression. A huge statue of Kobo Daishi, a celebrated figure in Japanese Buddhism, stands on top of the forested hill above the temple.

Getting there and around

Ishiteji Temple can be accessed from the Dogo Onsen tram stop in a short bus ride (5 minutes, 160 yen, frequent departures) or in a 15-20 minute walk. Dogo Onsen is the terminus of three tram lines. From JR Matsuyama Station, take tram line 5 (20 minutes, 170 yen). From Matsuyama-shi Station, take tram line 3 (15 minutes, 170 yen).

How to get to and around Matsuyama

Hours and Fees

Ishiteji Temple Grounds

Hours

Closed

Admission

Treasure House

Hours

Closed

Admission

Hotels around Matsuyama

Top rated in Matsuyama
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    • Cinnamon Guesthouse Dogo
      Budget-friendly
      Open from 2015, Cinnamon Guesthouse Dogo offers female only and mixed dormitory rooms with free WiFi. Dogo Onsen Station is a 4-minute walk away. Each bunk bed in the dormitory rooms come with a curtain to secure your privacy. Bathroom facilities and toilets are shared with other guests. Guests can cook their own meals in the shared kitchen with free-use kitchenware and seasonings. There is also a bar on the ground floor. There is no laundry facility on site, however, guests can take a 10-minute stroll to a nearby public coin launderette. The nearest super market is a 5-minute walk away, while the nearest convenience store is just a 2-minute walk from Cinnamon Guesthouse Dogo. The property is a 40-minute bus ride from Matsuyama Airport and Matsuyama Tourist Port. Matsuyama Castle is a 15-minute train ride away.
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    • 3LDK Denchi
      Budget-friendly
      100 metres from Botchan Train Museum, 3LDK Denchi is set in Matsuyama and offers air-conditioned rooms with free WiFi. The property is around 1.9 km from Ishitegawa Park, 2.7 km from Matsuyama castle and 3 km from Joshin-ji Temple. The guest house has family rooms. At the guest house, all rooms have a desk, a flat-screen TV, a private bathroom, bed linen and towels. All guest rooms will provide guests with a microwave. Popular points of interest near 3LDK Denchi include Okaido Shopping Street, Matsuyama Civic Center and The Museum of Art, Ehime. The nearest airport is Matsuyama Airport, 8 km from the accommodation.
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    • Kowakuen Haruka
      Luxury
      Situated in Matsuyama, 500 metres from Matsuyama Shrine, Kowakuen Haruka features accommodation with a restaurant, private parking and a garden. The property is set 2 km from Matsuyama castle, 2.1 km from Okaido Shopping Street and 2.6 km from The Museum of Art, Ehime. The accommodation offers a hot spring bath, a 24-hour front desk and free WiFi. All rooms at the ryokan come with air conditioning, a seating area, a flat-screen TV with satellite channels, a safety deposit box and a private bathroom with a bidet, slippers and a hairdryer. At Kowakuen Haruka the rooms are fitted with bed linen and towels. The accommodation offers a buffet or Asian breakfast. Popular points of interest near Kowakuen Haruka include Joshin-ji Temple, Miyukiji Temple and Ishitegawa Park. The nearest airport is Matsuyama Airport, 8 km from the ryokan.
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    • Dormy Inn Matsuyama Natural Hot Spring
      Mid-range
      Dormy Inn Matsuyama Natural Hot Spring is set in Matsuyama, within 1.9 km of Matsuyama Civic Center and 2.1 km of Matsuyama castle. Among the facilities of this property are a restaurant, a 24-hour front desk and luggage storage space, along with free WiFi throughout the property. Local points of interest like The Museum of Art, Ehime and Joshin-ji Temple are reachable within 2.1 km and 2.3 km, respectively. The units come with air conditioning, a flat-screen TV with satellite channels, a fridge, a kettle, a bidet, slippers and a wardrobe. At the hotel all rooms come with bed linen and towels. Guests at Dormy Inn Matsuyama Natural Hot Spring can enjoy a buffet breakfast. The wellness area at the accommodation is comprised of a hot spring bath and a sauna. Popular points of interest near Dormy Inn Matsuyama Natural Hot Spring include Okaido Shopping Street, Botchan Train Museum and Ishitegawa Park. The nearest airport is Matsuyama Airport, 9 km from the hotel.
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    • DogoYaya
      Luxury
      Ideally set in the Dogo Hot Spring district of Matsuyama, DogoYaya is situated 500 metres from Joshin-ji Temple, 800 metres from Matsuyama Shrine and 1.4 km from Miyukiji Temple. Boasting a 24-hour front desk, this property also provides guests with a restaurant. Free WiFi is available and private parking can be arranged at an extra charge. Guest rooms in the hotel are fitted with a kettle. All rooms will provide guests with air conditioning, a safety deposit box and a flat-screen TV. Buffet and ? la carte breakfast options are available each morning at DogoYaya. Matsuyama castle is 2.3 km from the accommodation, while Okaido Shopping Street is 2.7 km from the property. The nearest airport is Matsuyama Airport, 11 km from DogoYaya.
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    • Yamatoya Honten
      Luxury
      Set in Matsuyama, 600 metres from Joshin-ji Temple, Yamatoya Honten offers accommodation with a restaurant, private parking and a bar. The property is around less than 1 km from Matsuyama Shrine, 1.8 km from Miyukiji Temple and 2.4 km from Matsuyama castle. The accommodation provides a hot spring bath, a 24-hour front desk and free WiFi. All guest rooms come with air conditioning, a flat-screen TV with satellite channels, a fridge, a kettle, a bidet, slippers and a wardrobe. All rooms include a private bathroom, a bath and a hairdryer, and some units at the ryokan have a safety deposit box. An Asian breakfast is available every morning at Yamatoya Honten. Okaido Shopping Street is 2.8 km from the accommodation, while Ishitegawa Park is 3 km from the property. The nearest airport is Matsuyama Airport, 12 km from Yamatoya Honten.
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    • Hotel Taiyo Noen Nibancho
      Mid-range
      Situated in Matsuyama, 700 metres from Okaido Shopping Street, Hotel Taiyo Noen Nibancho features accommodation with a restaurant, private parking and free bikes. The property is around 2 km from Miyukiji Temple, 2.3 km from Matsuyama Civic Center and 2.5 km from The Museum of Art, Ehime. The accommodation provides a 24-hour front desk and free WiFi. Guests at the hotel can enjoy a buffet breakfast. Popular points of interest near Hotel Taiyo Noen Nibancho include Ishitegawa Park, Botchan Train Museum and Matsuyama castle. The nearest airport is Matsuyama Airport, 9 km from the accommodation.
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    • Dougoya
      Mid-range
      Situated in the popular Dogo Hot Spring area, Onsen Ryokan Dougoya provides traditional Japanese-style accommodation with natural a hot spring bath and a lovely garden. Free WiFi is available in guest rooms. The ryokan is just a 5-minute walk from famous Dogo Hot Spring Bathhouse. It is a 8-minute walk from Dogo Onsen tram stop, which is an 18-minute ride away from JR Matsuyama Station. Iconic Matsuyama Castle is a 15-minute tram and a 5-minute lift ride away. Each room at Dogoya is fitted with tatami (woven-straw) flooring and futon bedding. Private rooms feature a low table and seating cushions. Bathroom and toilet are shared with other guests. Two 24-hour shower rooms are available on site. Free toiletries and free towel rental are available in the hot spring bath and shower. Private use of public hot spring bath is available during limited hours. Guests can relax in the common room with a flat-screen TV. Free luggage storage and a free safety deposit box to store valuables is available.
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    • Comfort Hotel Matsuyama
      Mid-range
      Featuring 3-star accommodation, Comfort Hotel Matsuyama is situated in Matsuyama, less than 1 km from Okaido Shopping Street and an 11-minute walk from Matsuyama castle. This 3-star hotel offers a 24-hour front desk and luggage storage space. Free WiFi is available and private parking can be arranged at an extra charge. The hotel will provide guests with air-conditioned rooms offering a desk, a kettle, a fridge, a safety deposit box, a flat-screen TV and a private bathroom with a bidet. At Comfort Hotel Matsuyama rooms include bed linen and towels. A continental breakfast is available each morning at the accommodation. Popular points of interest near Comfort Hotel Matsuyama include The Museum of Art, Ehime, Matsuyama Civic Center and Botchan Train Museum. The nearest airport is Matsuyama Airport, 6 km from the hotel.
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    • Daiwa Roynet Hotel Matsuyama
      Luxury
      Daiwa Roynet Hotel Matsuyama offers accommodation in Matsuyama near Matsuyama castle and Botchan Train Museum. Among the facilities of this property are a restaurant, a 24-hour front desk and luggage storage space, along with free WiFi. Private parking can be arranged at an extra charge. All guest rooms at the japanese-style business hotel feature air conditioning and a desk. A buffet breakfast is available every morning at Daiwa Roynet Hotel Matsuyama. Popular points of interest near the accommodation include Okaido Shopping Street, Yasaka Temple and Ishitegawa Park. The nearest airport is Matsuyama Airport, 8.5 km from Daiwa Roynet Hotel Matsuyama.
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