- Day 11 – Usuki to Matsuyama
- Distance: 72km
- Ascent / descent: 575m / 493m
- Weather: sunny and hot
- Accom: Cinnamon Guest house Dogo, Matsuyama, ¥3,000 dorm room
My ferry was at 7:45am and I was told to be there at 7:15am to pick up the ticket. It was just a 3km ride from the guesthouse to the port and when I arrived I was directed to put my bike in the queue next to a BMW motorbike. The couple on the bike were heading to Shikoku for the weekend. I left my bike in the queue then went into the office to pay and pick up my ticket. I was the last to board and as it was a nice day, I spent most of the ride outside on the upper deck.
It took 2hr 15 min to reach Yawatahama in Shikoku. There was a large Michi-no-eki next to the ferry terminal with a fish market, a food hall, cafes and information. After collecting a stamp and eating a salmon rice ball, I started on my Shikoku cycle adventure. Straight away I was impressed with the cycle lanes and separate cyclist / pedestrian tunnels. It was a gorgeously warm day and other than quite a few tunnels (and some without a footpath), I was mostly cycling along the stunning coastline.
Michi-no-eki Futami was a welcome surprise with a lovely sandy beach and lots of food options. I had takoyaki and donuts for lunch while sitting on the sand and for the first time on this trip, I felt like I was on holiday!
My intention was to pass through Matsuyama and continue to a park a further 16km on, however I was lured into the wonderful ambience of Dogo Onsen and after seeing and chatting with the same biker couple that I’d met this morning on the ferry, I decided to try and find somewhere to stay. There was a guesthouse (Cinnamon Dogo Guest House) 300m from where I was staying but the free wifi I was using wasn’t good enough to show me if there was availability so I decided to go directly there and find out. The owner, Shimpei-san informed me there was one last bed available in the female dorm for ¥3,000 and that I could bring my bike inside the guesthouse. Perfect!
Shimpei-san was wonderful and very helpful and the guesthouse was beautifully designed and thought out. He told me of a new onsen that had opened in 2017 called Asuka no Yu which is next to Tsubaki no Yu (about 200m from Dogo Onsen) so I decided to try this new one as I’ve been to both Dogo Onsen and Tsubaki no Yu. It was ¥600 (it’s ¥400 for Tsubaki no Yu) and I loved it! There were two baths, one indoor and the other inside but with an open roof for the cool breeze. There was a light projection on a wall in the bath every half hour which was wonderfully done and I felt so relaxed after my long hot soak.
I went for dinner at an udon noodle restaurant (called Manma) that was recommended by Shimpei-san just around the corner of the guesthouse and had a delicious hot pork udon dish.