Thursday, May 22, 2014

Welcome to Matsuyama- the birthplace of Haiku

Just a little background information on the city Sarah is serving in now.  Matsuyama is the capital city on the island of Shikoku.  The city name means Pine Mountain.  It is home to the famous hot springs bath house - Dogo Onsen - the oldest hot springs bath house in Japan (history reports its use by royalty as early as the year 596 AD).  This is definitely on my To Do list when I go to Japan next December :).  Another favorite tourist spot is the Matsuyama Castle. For those of you who love poetry Matsuyama is considered the birthplace of Haiku poetry.
The city is also known as the setting for a 1907 American novel "As the Hague Ordains" by Eliza Scidmore documenting the role the city played during the Russo-Japanese War.  Apparently there is a Russian cemetery here with a commemoration to the Russian prisoners who died in Matsuyama during the war while interred at a prison camp nearby.
Matsuyama still maintains its original streetcar system - the Iyo railway- as well as an airport with flights to Osaka and Tokyo.  Population here is upward of half a million people making it the largest city on the island.
The city of Matsuyama has become famous for its tarts, first introduced to the Japanese by the Portugese - there are many different flavors and styles of tarts to be found here. Sarah is heading into the hottest, rainiest, and most humid time of the year on the island over the next month or so :)
Yay for rain suits and super strong deodorant!

Matsuyama city view