This was the day we left Takamatsu for Dogo Onsen, a 3-hour drive. Since we were still in the home of udon (basically the whole Takamatsu surrounding area), we stopped by Marugame for an udon brunch.
Nakamura Udon was about 40-min’s drive from the hotel in Takamatsu, it’s a small handmade udon restaurant only opens 10am to 2pm, or earlier if the udon is sold out. We were again driving through some roads that didn’t look like it was leading to any restaurants, until a point where there were quite a few restaurants with handmade udon as their speciality.
Arriving at Nakamura Udon only 45 minutes after the hotel breakfast, we opted for differents sizes of udon bowls. It’s a self-service restaurant, queue up outside and ordered, then stayed in the queue for the udon. It was really good udon.
The drive from Marugame to Dogo would mainly be on the motorway. It’s a 2-hour drive there. One thing that we always do when driving on motorways in Japan is stopping at rest areas known as “Service Area (SA)” or “Parking Area (PA)” – SA’s are generally bigger with more facilities than PA’s. GPS will generally show the location and facilities of the rest areas. Stores and restaurants at rest areas always sell the local specialties, so it’s always fun to visit.
After almost ¾’s of the drive we stopped at Mount Ishizuchi SA. It was still quite early and we decided to stay at this rest area a bit longer – better to arrive at the hotel at Dogo Onsen around 3pm check-in time. We managed to time our trip well and got to the hotel – Hotel Tsubakikan, sometime after 3pm.
Dogo Onsen is an old and famous hot spring. The main bath house is beautiful. Around the bath house there are shops, sightseeing spots and foot bath. Our hotel location is approximately 5-min’s walk away from all these so first thing we did was to stroll around.
After a relaxing foot bath right next to the automation clock at Dogo station, time to return to the hotel. We booked the accommodation package with dinner and buffet breakfast. Dinner was Japanese seasonal set, in March it was sea breams and prawns.
Dogo Onsen area hospitality business should be quite competitive, there was a Taiko show at the hotel lobby at 9pm every night. By 8.45pm the lobby was packed with audience. It was a energetic, intense and entertaining show.