Matsuyama (松山市, Matsuyama-shi, Japanese:[matsɯꜜjama]) is the capital city of Ehime Prefecture on the island of Shikoku in Japan and also Shikoku's largest city, with a population of 509,835 as of June 1, 2019. It is located on the northeastern portion of the Dōgo Plain. Its name means "pine mountain". The city was founded on December 15, 1889.
The city is known for its hot springs (onsen), among the oldest in Japan, and is home to the Dōgo Onsen Honkan, a Meiji Period wooden public bathhouse dating from 1894. A second favorite tourist spot is Matsuyama Castle. Eight of the eighty-eight temples in the Shikoku Pilgrimage are in Matsuyama.
In the twentieth century, various mergers joined the castle town with neighboring Dōgo, Mitsuhama, and other townships, aided by urban sprawl, creating a seamless modern city that now ranks as the largest in Shikoku.
As of the most recent merger, on October 1, 2018, absorbing the city of Hōjō, and town of Nakajima (from the former Onsen District), the city had an estimated population of 510,963 and a population density of 1,196 persons per km². The total (merged) area is 429.40 km². Matsuyama is home to several universities including Ehime University (part of the Japanese national university system) and several private colleges, including Matsuyama University and Matsuyama Shinonome College.
Matsuyama has several important museums. The Museum of Art, Ehime is the city's main art museum, its collections emphasizing the works of regional artists. The Shiki Memorial Museum is a museum that focuses on the life and work of Masaoka Shiki, with special attention to his contribution to haiku. The Saka no Ue no Kumo Museum features exhibits connected with the famous novel and television series. There is a Juzo Itami museum dedicated to the famous film director.
Famous products (meibutsu) of Matsuyama include tarts and Botchan dango. In the 17th century, the lord of Matsuyama castle Sadayuki Matsudaira (松平定行) introduced the process of tart-making, originally brought to Japan by the Portuguese, to Matsuyama. At first it was a Castella with jam. According to legend Sadayuki made some changes, such as adding red bean paste. Now there are many kinds and makers of tarts in Matsuyama; some add yuzu paste or chestnut to the red bean paste. In addition to tarts, Botchan dango is also a famous product of Matsuyama. Botchan dango was named after the famous novel Botchan by Natsume Sōseki. It consists of three bean paste beads of three flavors, matcha, egg, and red bean paste. Within the paste is contained mochi.
Matsuyama is the site of a number of festivals, including the Dogo Festival, held in the spring, the Matsuyama Festival, held in August, and the Fall Festival, held in October, which features battling mikoshi.