4 Things to Do in the Town of Uchiko, a Remnant of Rural Japan

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  • One of the biggest attractions in Japan apart from the first-class technological advancements in the country is its traditional sites. From the rustic beauty of its ancient Shinto and Buddhist temples up to the pristine beauty of authentic Japanese residences, the country has a lot of sites to be proud of. Among these places is Ehime Prefecture’s (愛媛県) Uchiko Town (内子町).

    Uchiko has long been known as the hub for wax and paper production in Japan. It’s also the same town where the first origami vending machine, which made headlines across the world, was spotted. If your idea of a vacation involves cultural learning and immersion, then Uchiko will definitely not disappoint.

    Below are four things you can do to maximize the vintage and rural feel that the town offers.

    1. Watch Kabuki and Bunraku performances at the Uchiko-za (内子座) Theatre

    uchiko-za-theatre

    Celebrate your passion for stage plays or acting by visiting the Uchiko-za Theatre which is just a five to 10-minute walk from the JR Uchiko Station (内子駅). The place prides itself on its noble history, having been built in 1916 as a tribute to Emperor Taisho’s (大正天皇) succession to the Imperial Throne.

    At present, this theater is considered as one of Uchiko’s cultural properties and continually holds must-watch Kabuki performances. With its 650 seating capacity, you’ll have enough room for your family or friends so long as you arrive in the area ahead of time!

    Uchiko-za Theatre Website
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    2. Get to know the best wax producers in Japan at Kamihaga Residence (上芳我邸)

    kamihaga-residence

    There’s no way you’ll miss Kamihaga Residence while touring around Uchiko. It’s located at Yokaichi Old Town (八日市護国), about a 20 to 30-minute walk from the JR Uchiko Station, and is widely popular for housing the must-visit Wax Museum (木蝋資料館).

    This residence is the previous home of the Kamihaga family who is a branch of Uchiko’s most influential clan – the Honhaga clan (本芳我家). Together, they created the “Crane in the Sunrise” wax label which soared in popularity even in Europe and America.

    The residence is open for public viewing and features highly informative wax industry displays in its museum. Guests will also have a great time exploring the vintage beauty of the place’s tatami rooms complete with attractive ornaments and pottery display.

    Kamihaga Residence and Wax Museum Website
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    3. Step into Uchiko’s residential lifestyle in the 1920s at the Uchiko History Museum

    This place is otherwise known as the Museum of Commercial and Domestic Life (商いと暮らし博物館) and is located outside the Yokaichi Old Town district.

    Dolls and life-size figures are arranged in specific locations to show what a typical merchant life was like in Uchiko around the 19th and 20th century.

    While there are no English captions and information descriptions, the figures on display are vivid enough to educate guests on what they represent. This is literally the closest thing you can get to traveling back in time and getting a feel of Uchiko’s folk culture!

    Museum of Commercial and Domestic Life Website
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    4. Visit Koshoji Temple (高昌寺), a Buddhist place of worship rich in history

    Founded in 1441, this Buddhist temple is undeniably a concrete representation of Japan’s long-time belief in Buddhism. It houses a huge reclining Buddha and is strategically located at an elevated spot perfect for providing a bird’s eye view of Uchiko’s stunning traditional residences.

    Koshoji Temple Website *Japanese only
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    Break away from the monotonous city life and treat yourself to a beautiful and educational rural trip to the town of Uchiko!