The mansions of wax magnates, an Edo-period townscape, and high-quality theatrics. These are just a few of the attractions that await visitors in the charming town of Uchiko in Ehime Prefecture, japan. As you walk through the streets of Uchiko, it’s easy to feel as though you are slipping back in time to 18th-century Japan. The peaceful town offers a glimpse into the past with its traditional Japanese theater, historic buildings, and local artisans.
One of the highlights of Uchiko is the Uchikoza Theater, where visitors can experience traditional Japanese theater performances. This theater has a long history and is famous for its bunraku puppet shows, rakugo comedic storytelling, and Kabuki performances. The theater itself is a work of art, with its revolving stage, hidden tunnels, and trapdoors that add to the theatrical spectacle. Even if you don’t have time to catch a performance, a tour of the theater is still worthwhile to appreciate its architectural beauty.
Another must-visit attraction in Uchiko is the former residence of the town’s wax magnates. During the 18th century, Uchiko was known for its wax production industry, and the wealthy wax merchants built grand houses in the area. Three of these mansions, belonging to the Honhaga and Omura families, can still be seen today. While visitors can only admire the exteriors of these majestic homes, they can explore the Kamihaga Residence and Wax Museum to learn more about the town’s history and architecture.
The streetscape of Uchiko is also worth exploring. The 600-meter-long streets are designed in the hirairi zukuri style, with walls plastered with pale yellow lime plaster. This preservation of the town’s historic buildings is thanks to the Yokaichi Gokoku Streetscape Preservation District, which works to protect and promote the area’s cultural heritage. Visitors can learn about the construction techniques used in these buildings and see traditional tools at exhibits within the district.
For those looking for a unique souvenir, a visit to the Omori Candle Shop is a must. Uchiko is famous for its handmade candles, and this shop offers visitors the opportunity to watch the candles being made and purchase one to take home. The shop also sells other wax products, such as wax figures and decorative items.
In addition to its cultural attractions, Uchiko is also known for its natural beauty. The town is surrounded by lush greenery and offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains. Visitors can take a leisurely stroll through the town’s streets and enjoy the peaceful atmosphere.
If you’re feeling hungry after exploring Uchiko, there are plenty of dining options to choose from. Uchiko is famous for its large chestnuts, which are used in many dishes and sweets at local restaurants. One recommended restaurant is Shimohagatei, which offers locally sourced produce in its expansive tatami rooms overlooking a beautiful garden.
Uchiko is easily accessible from Matsuyama JR Station. Visitors can take the JR Yosan limited express train, which takes just 30 minutes to reach Uchiko Station. From there, it’s a 20-minute walk through the town to reach the Yokaichi Old Town area. On weekends and holidays, the Chagamaru Retro Bus is also available and takes tourists to all major attractions within the town.
If you have more time to spare, consider extending your trip to Ozu, another charming town in Ehime Prefecture. Ozu is known for its well-preserved castle and historic buildings, offering a similar glimpse into Japan’s past.
In conclusion, Uchiko is a hidden gem in Ehime Prefecture that offers a unique and immersive experience of traditional Japanese culture. From its historic buildings and wax magnate mansions to its traditional theater and local artisans, there is something for everyone to enjoy in this charming town. Whether you’re interested in history, theater, or simply strolling through picturesque streets, Uchiko is sure to leave a lasting impression. So, make sure to add Uchiko to your itinerary when visiting Japan and discover the beauty and charm of this Edo-period townscape.
Address And Maps Location:
Uchiko, Kita-gun, Ehime-ken