Dogo Onsen Honkan, a symbol of Dogo Onsen which is said to be as Japan’s oldest hot spring, is a facility examplified by Kami-no-Yu.
The most attractive feature of Dogo Onsen Honkan is that, while it became the first public bathhouse in Japan designated as a National Important Cultural Property in 1994, it continues operating as an active public bathhouse without being converted to a museum. In 2009 it was awarded the top rating of 3 stars by the Michelin Green Guide Japan.
The present-day Kami-no-Yu Honkan is a 3-story wooden structure renovated in 1894 by Isaniwa Yukiya, the first mayor of Dogo Yunomachi. He overcame many difficulties, looking ahead to the prosperity of Dogo 100 years later. The later construction of the Yūshinden in 1899, renovation of Yojo-yu in 1924, and another renovation in 1935 have led to the current appearance. The building was designed by Sakamoto Matahachiro, a craftsman from a family of master carpenters who worked on Matsuyama Castle. Featuring a truss structure that incorporates Western techniques, this grand 3-tiered building is crowned by a square cupola called Shinrokaku, which features giyaman glass windows and a roof adorned by a sculpture of the egret from the Dogo Onsen legend.