Uchiko Town [内子町]
Uchiko is a small town surrounded by mountains, with a population of about 20,000. It is the central hub area for several smaller, outlying towns and villages including Ikazaki, Ose and Oda. Uchiko is twinned with the town of Rothenburg ob der Tauber in Germany, and prides itself on the preservation of its historic buildings.
Location / Access / Transport
- Car: Uchiko is located in the center of Ehime directly along Route 56.
- Train: To/From Matsuyama – about 22 minutes by express train.
- Bus: To/From Osaka – overnight bus available
Tourism / Festivals / Highlights
- Machinami – beautifully preserved historical street from Uchiko’s heyday as a wax manufacturer. Handmade Japanese wax candles and umbrellas among other products, are still sold in this area. Head here to check out some historic residences, restaurants, and a ryokan!
- Uchiko-za – oldest Kabuki and Bunraku theatre in Ehime! Built in the final years of the Meiji Era and renovated in the 80’s – a must-see!
- Sleeping Buddha – beautiful statue resting in front of the temple at the end of Machinami.
- Karari Farmers’ Market – open every day and offers locally grown produce, fresh local cheese, German-style sausages and ham, homemade ice cream and Uchiko pork burgers.
- Ikazaki Paper Factory – located in Ikazaki’s Tenjin district. They sell a large variety of decorative Japanese paper and paper products. Paper making workshops are offered on weekdays for 500 yen per person.
- Sol-Fa Ski Ground – offering three runs, Sol-Fa is home to the longest run in Ehime. Rental and a day pass costs about 10,000 yen.
- Ikazaki Kite Festival – on Children’s Day, 5th May. Teams fly large kites made out of Japanese paper. The kites have blades attached for cutting the strings of other kites!
- Oda Lantern Festival – last Saturday in July. Lanterns float down the Oda River while the people of Oda take part in a parade. The event culminates in the igniting of a fake boat by shooting fire arrows at it.
- Uchiko’s Sasa Matsuri – August 6th and 7th. Bamboo Festival. Beautiful handmade paper decorations line the main street, with decorative light projections on the evening of the 6th. On the evening of the 7th, dancers form a procession down the main street.
Uchiko has a well-maintained restaurant guide with plenty of pictures to help whet your appetite! http://www.we-love-uchiko.jp/lunch/
- Arunze Tourist Information Center can be found on the main street. Behind Arunze is Nanze, a café and gift shop selling local souvenirs.
- Volunteer English Tour Guides – please book at least one week in advance for tours of Uchiko’s old street, Ikazaki, Ishidatami or other parts of Uchiko town. Tours can be tailor made but may depend on the availability of guides.