Lovers of authentic Japanese streets and houses should certainly drop by Uchiko town. Uchiko (Ehime Prefecture, Shikoku) is a small village where one of the streets are preserved in its original state. Along this street Yokaichi (八日 市, Yokaichi) are about 90 houses preserved to look the same as 100 years ago. Now, some of these houses are open to the public and used as a museum. The largest and most impressive building is the Kamihaga Residence.
In the past Uchiko was known for its wax industry. Even today one can visit old factories and watch how candles are being hand made.
As a tourist one can by a comi-ticket to visit three of the most popular museums:
- the Kamihage Residence: The Kamihaga house (上 芳 我 家, Kagihagatei) is the former home and workshop of the Kamihaga family, descendants of Uchiko’s most influential family “Honhaga”. The large building includes a spacious house from the Meiji period and a workshop which is now used as a museum.
- the Museum of Commercial and Domestic life (shows the daily life of the pharmacy staff from 1921)
- the 100 year old Uchoki-za theater (Kabuki theater) which is still used. Such theater has no seats. The floor is divided in squares. As a spectator you rent a square for your family or friends and then use cushions to sit. Because the theater in Uchiko is also a museum where you can visit most rooms. Underneath the stage it is shown how by using manpower the upper stage was rotated upon a next act.
We stayed at the Matsuno-Ya ryokan. This ryokan is situated in Honmachi street near the center (see map below). It has rooms with tatami mats, futons and bathroom. Furthermore the breakfast and dinners were perfect and parking space is across the street.
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