Well today we drove 234km to Matsuyama. A place famous for its castle and Dogo Onsen. We stayed in an APA hotel. Only £37, it was very clean but tired as if nothing had changed since the 80's. You could even rent movies on the TV. Something that has died elsewhere along with VHS. For £37 it was fantastic. We parked the car in one of those vertical carparks where the car is parked on a bed which then cranks round on a chain system, its really cool or I'm really sad. The Dogo Onsen is Japan's oldest hot spring with a 3000 year history. The actual Onsen we went into was built in 1894 and it was great. It reminded me of the municipal victorian Turkish baths in Dunfermline

Stacks Image 164

Whilst eating our evening meal something weird was happening outside. I googled it on getting back to the hotel and it is:
Clashing of the Mikoshi shrines, a festival for real men!
This festival features the loud and lively “Hachiawase” (clashing of shrines) starting from 6:30am on 7 October in front of Dogo-Onsen station. Eight large portable shrines from eight local towns clash each other. Battles take place twice for each shrine, eight times in total and are known as the Kenka-Mikoshi (fighting shrines). The portable shrines are jolted against each other while the “Mikoshi Mamori” (Mikoshi defenders), the young men supporting the Mikoshi shrines, push with all their might. In addition to the Hachiawase, the Miya-ire (taking the Mikoshi into the Isaniwa Shrine) and Miya-dashi (taking the Mikoshi out of the Isaniwa Shrine) are other festival features not to be missed. The large Mikoshi shrines being taken up the 135 steep stone steps of the Isaniwa Shrine is a spectacular sight as they appear to be driven up solely on the enthusiastic energy of the porters!