Tourist spot in Ehime Prefecture

Uchiko town [内子]

Old town in Uchiko
Old town in Uchiko

A street in Uchiko
A street in Uchiko

Map of Uchiko town

Uchiko is a small town located about 40 km south of Matsuyama city.
There is Ôzu city about 10 km west of Uchiko town.

Since ancient times, this town had produced silk and paper.

And from the early 18th century, wax made from resin of haze-no-ki (Japanese wax tree) had been produced.

These productions made this town rich, and several wealthy merchants were produced.

But since the middle of the 20th century, wax has been produced from oil, so the industry in this town declined.
Now the main industry is agriculture.

The people in this town have preserved the old buildings positively.

The main area of Uchiko town is in a narrow basin formed by Oda River.
The old town is located in the northern part of the basin and on the west side of th river.

Especially, Yôkaichi (八日市) and Gokoku (護国) districts have many old buildings, and the townscape is designated as one of Japan's Preservation Districts.

The districts spread about 1 km long from south to the north.
About 90 traditional residences are along the main street.

The entrance of the town is about 500 meters northeast of JR Uchiko station, so we can tour around even on foot.

Uchiko-za in Uchiko
Uchiko-za in Uchiko
Photo by Railstation.net

Inside of Uchiko-za in Uchiko
Inside of Uchiko-za
Photo by Railstation.net

First, there is Uchiko-za theater (内子座) at the entrance of the old town.

It is a Kabuki theater built to celebrate Emperor Taisho's accession to the imperial throne in 1916.
When Uchiko had been flourishing in the production of wax and silk, it was completed by local volunteers.

It was rebuilt in 1985 because it became too old.
It is designated as a town's cultural property.
It has 650 seats, it is used as a theater or a public hall now.

Museum of Commercial and Domestic Life
Museum of Commercial and Domestic Life
Photo by Railstation.net

Takahashi Residence in Uchiko
Takahashi Residence
Photo by Railstation.net

There is Museum of Commercial and Domestic Life (商いと暮らし博物館) about 250 meters northeast of Uchiko-za.

It is a museum reproducing a merchant house around the 1920s and introduces the history and folk culture of Uchiko town.

Old building of a merchant house is used, a pharmacy is reproduced.
Real dolls welcome you.

Takahashi Residence (高橋邸) is located about 350 meters northeast of the museum.

It is an old merchant residence, and is an accommodation facility for cultural exchange now.

Takahashi family has been a big name in this area since the 17th century.
They established a major beer company and produced a Minister of International Trade and Industry in the 1950s.

Machiya Museum in Uchiko
Machiya Museum
Photo by Railstation.net

Honhaga Residence in Uchiko
Honhaga Residence
Photo by Railstation.net

The street about 500 meters long from Yôkaichi to Gokoku district has conserved the atmosphere of those days.

The entrance is about 300 meters northwest of Takahashi Residence.
There are a few spots along the street.

Machiya Museum (町屋資料館) is a museum introducing "Machiya" in Uchiko.

"Machiya" is a style of old merchant house.
An earthen floor like a straight corridor runs through the house from the entrance, and some rooms are set up along it.

The building of this museum was built in 1793 and has Machiya style.
Old livingwares and farm equipments are also displayed.

Honhaga Residence (本芳我家住宅) is the residence of a wealthy merchant of wax.

It was built in 1889 and has various elaborate designs on the building.
It is designated as a national cultural property.

The inside of the residence is not opened to the public, but we can see the garden.

Omura Residence in Uchiko
Omura Residence
Photo by Railstation.net

Japanese Wax Museum in Uchiko
Japanese Wax Museum
Photo by Ehime Prefecture

Omura Residence (大村家住宅) is next to Hon-Haga Residence.

It was built around the 1790s, and this residence was constructed before Uchiko flourished in production of wax.

It is also designated as a national cultural property.

The inside of the residence is not opened to the public.

Japanese Wax Museum (Kamihaga Residence) (木蠟資料館 上芳我住宅) is a museum introducing Uchiko's traditional production of Japanese wax.

This building was the residence of Kamihaga family, which is a branch of Honhaga family, and was built in 1894.

In the museum, Uchiko's wax is introduced and the equipments to make wax are displayed.

Koshoji in Uchiko
Koshoji
Photo by Ehime Prefecture

Corridor in Koshoji
Corridor in Koshoji
Photo by Ehime Prefecture

Kôshôji (高昌寺) is a Buddhist temple of Soto Zen sect.
It is located at the north end of the historic town.

It was founded in 1441.
The current temple was rebuilt after the destruction by fire in 1807.

Many buildings are connected with corridors, so the structure is similar to Eiheiji in Fukui Prefecture which is the head temple of Soto sect.
So, it is called "Little Eiheiji".

Uchiko Sanpo

How to get here

By JR limited express, about 25 minutes from Matsuyama.

Other Tourist Attractions in Ehime Prefecture

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