Suzuko Mimori passionately voices the role of Sukunahikona, the protective deity of Dōgo Onsen in Matsuyama.
The animation "Hi no Tori, the Phoenix: Dōgo Onsen Chapter" premieres
On May 24th, in front of the Dōgo Onsen Honkan in Matsuyama, a press conference on the completion of the animation was held with popular voice actress Suzuko Mimori on stage. A promotional vehicle, an Alfa Romeo decorated with the Phoenix, was also on display.
The Dōgo Onsen Honkan in Matsuyama is 125 years old now and for the first time in Japan, a public bathhouse which has been designated as an Important National Cultural Asset has been kept open while repairs and preservation work are being done. The Dōgo Reborn Project is providing features and running events which people can only enjoy during this time. The project highlights "Hi no Tori, the Phoenix" which Osamu Tezuka considered his life's work. Tezuka Productions created an original animation. On May 24th, with popular voice actress Suzuko Mimori who plays Sukunahikona in Tezuka Productions' original animation was on hand for the ceremony of completion and premiere of the animation in front of the Dōgo Onsen Honkan. A promotional vehicle, an Alfa Romeo Stelvio decorated with the Phoenix, also appeared and made the audience excited.
The Dōgo Onsen Honkan is a must-see landmark in the city of Matsuyama. This is the first time in Japan in which a public bathhouse that has been designated as an Important National Cultural Asset has been kept open while repairs are being done to preserve the building. As part of the Dōgo Reborn Project that is providing features and running events which people can only enjoy during this time, the original animation "Hi no Tori, the Phoenix: Dōgo Onsen Chapter" has been made. It premiered on May 24th at the ceremony in front of the Dōgo Onsen Honkan. Dōgo Onsen is said to be the oldest hot springs in Japan. Now, 125 years after the renovation in the Meiji era, the Dōgo Onsen Honkan, joins hands with the Phoenix, a symbol of eternal life which Osamu Tezuka considered his life's work. The Phoenix-printed hanging blinds and lanterns are placed at the front entrance on the west side of Honkan, which was used until recently. On the north side of Honkan where they had the main entrance in the Meiji era when renovations took place, the statue of the Phoenix appears. Every night, projection mapping on the Dōgo Onsen Honkan "Dōgo Onsen + NAKED: MESSAGE - The Arrival of the Phoenix" is taking place. It is a combination of the quaint Honkan building and the latest digital art that was created by NAKED who are known for works such as FLOWERS BY NAKED at Nijō Castle, the World Heritage site in Kyoto.
As the main feature of the Dōgo Reborn Project, Tezuka Productions created original animation based on legends relating to Dōgo Onsen. One is the legend of the Tamanoishi regarding Ōkuninushi and Sukunahikona from the mythical age. The other one is based on the legend of Prince Shōtoku's visit to the place in A.D. 596 which is in Asuka era. You can learn about history while enjoying the animation and it will make you want to bathe in Dōgo Onsen. Suzuko Mimori who voices the role of Sukunahikona said, "I was impressed by the regal appearance of Dōgo Onsen. It felt like coming to travel through history instead of visiting a hot spring resort. I was filled with emotion when I thought that I was here by a quirk of fate." Although she loves hot springs, this was the first time she had been to Dōgo Onsen. Dōgo Onsen has ranked number one for five years in a row for Rakuten Travel's popular hot spring resorts for solo woman travelers, so she said with a smile, "When I visit privately, I want to enjoy various hot springs and relax in a hotel's original yukata."
In addition, There was a message from Tezuka Productions' director Ms. Rumiko Tezuka for the ceremony. "I was excited because it has been a long time since the last time the animation on the Phoenix was made ... I think how it is in sync with reality is very unique. For example, the Phoenix appears in legends related to a place. This feature is not something Tezuka's original stories have. If people are inspired to think that they can be part of the story that connects the past and the future of Dōgo Onsen, that makes me happy." The crowd listened attentively to the message.
On the same day, Alfa Romeo Matsuyama lent a new promotional vehicle to the city of Matsuyama. A new SUV, Stelvio, beautifully decorated with the Phoenix of the Dōgo Reborn Project was handed over to the city. The city will use the car in various future events and as mobile photo spot to promote the Dōgo Reborn Project.
The city of Matsuyama is currently running a crowdfunding campaign called "Fundraising for the Dōgo Onsen Honkan's Preservation and Repair" with the slogan "Saving the Dōgo Onsen Honkan, the setting for 'Botchan,' for future generations!" In June, a set of a bath towel and a hand towel was added to the rewards. Check out the official website of Dōgo Onsen for details.
The Dōgo Reborn Project is providing premium features during the time the Dōgo Onsen Honkan's preservation and repair is continuing. This includes the decorations around Honkan and providing a variety of things such as the streaming of new movies. The production of the sequel to the original animation is planned and the decorations around Honkan will change according to the process of the repair work. In Meiji 27 (A.D. 1894), 125 years ago, Yukiya Isaniwa, the first mayor of Dōgo Yunomachi paved the way for today's prosperity of the place by developing the area and renovating the Dōgo Onsen Honkan. It is said that he convinced others by saying, "We must build something that no one can copy, even after a century," and carried out the renovations. The Dōgo Onsen Honkan just greeted the new Reiwa era this year. In order to continue passing on the traditions and culture to further generations, even up to a century from now, new excitement has been brought to the Dōgo Onsen Honkan and it is being carefully preserved.
The Dōgo Onsen Honkan is currently under repairs to preserve the building. While repairs are being done, it's still open and you can enjoy 100% natural hot water of Dōgo Onsen
Dōgo Onsen, the famous hot spring with 3,000 years of history.
You can enjoy the bathing rooms which are reminiscent of Meiji 27 (A.D.1894),
when it was last renovated.
The stone bathing rooms adorned with Tobe porcelain panel paintings
and the baths with their large column-shaped water spouts called yugama are representative of the Dōgo Onsen Honkan's unique appeal.