Tucked away behind Hotel Tsubakikan and the Giyaman Glass Museum is Sagidani Cemetery. Its name means ‘heron valley’, in reference to the legendary white heron who was cured by the waters of Dōgo Onsen. The graves of several of Shikoku’s illustrious historical personages are found here.
To get to the graveyard, you pass up the hill in front of Tsubakikan and go up the steep steps on the left. Gravestones are arrayed haphazardly among the trees, and as you make your way up, cats dart away and give you accusing looks from behind the stonework.
Isaniwa Yukiya (1828-1907), mayor of Dōgo who had the Honkan rebuilt in the Meiji period, resides under a fine tree near the entrance. A little further up is Akiyama Yoshifuru whose innovations in cavalry operations contributed to victory in the Russo-Japanese war. Nearby are the remains of Nakamura Kusatao (1901-1983), a haiku poet who built on the legacy of Matsuyama’s Masaoka Shiki. All three graves are very modest.
A little taller and more conspicuous is the grave of Yoshinori Shirakawa (1869-1932) who rose to the position of Army Minister in the late 1920s and was killed in a bomb attack by a Korean independence activist in Shanghai.
You’ll notice that there are several obelisk-shaped gravestones with five points at the top. These are graves of soldiers who died in WWII, and the stone records their rank, where they served, and where they died.
From its topmost reaches, the graveyard offers a fine view of Matsuyama Castle.
Name in Japanese: 鷺谷墓地
Pronunciation: sagidani bochi
Address: 4-9 Dogosagidanicho, Matsuyama, Ehime 790-0836