Uchiko Heritage Village

Shikoku (四国, literally “Four Provinces”) is the smallest of Japan’s four main islands, and also the least populated. As such, it is an ideal area to explore by car, taking advantage of the country’s superb road infrastructure.  On a 10-day roadtrip, some friends and I visited almost every corner of this green and mountainous island, experiencing the area’s unique culture and traditions.

One such glimpse into old rural Japan can be found in Yokaichi Old Town, a preserved historical district near the town of Uchiko, southwest of Matsuyama city in Ehime Prefecture. Lining the narrow streets are rows of preserved (and some restored) traditional merchant houses from the peak of Uchiko’s fame as the center of the country’s wax manufacturing and trade. Today there are still a number of craft shops operating among a few museums and residential buildings, and there are thankfully no cheesy souvenir stalls in sight. Visit early in the morning for a crowd-free stroll through the quiet streets. At the top of the hill, Koshiji Temple houses a large statue of a reclining Buddha and offers a great view of the village below.

Uchiko Village

Koshoji Temple courtyard.

Uchiko Village

The Reclining Buddha at Koshoji Temple.

Uchiko Village

Matchbox for prayer candles at the temple.

Uchiko Village

Yokaichi main street.

Uchiko Village

Craft shop specializing in hand-made woven bamboo.

Uchiko Village

Figurines along the street.

Uchiko Village

A famous shop selling traditionally-made brooms.

Uchiko Village

One of the many preserved merchant buildings.

Uchiko Village

Dried corn for sale by the honour system: simply leave the money in the basket.

Uchiko Village

Sake manufacturing and warehouse.

Uchiko Village

A residential house among the historical buildings.

Uchiko Village

A display depicting a traditional medicine supply store.

Uchiko Village

Grand facade of a merchant store.

Uchiko Village

Small shrine in a side alley.

Uchiko Village

Restoration and upkeep is continuous in Uchiko.

Uchiko Village

Go early and you’ll be assured of a quiet, crowd-free visit.

—————————————————————————-

Location Map

What do you think? Any ideas or suggestions? Let me know.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s