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October 13, 2013
Day 10 - Uchiko

Uchiko (q) is a pleasant town located 40 km southwest of Matsuyama in Ehime Prefecture. Now a vestige of traditional, rural Japan, Uchiko was once a prosperous center of wax and paper production. One of the town's main attractions, the Kamihaga Residence, explores Uchiko's historical wax industry.

Yokaichi Old Town is Uchiko's preserved street of houses where most of the town's attractions can be found. This historical district looks just as it did over 100 years ago, when wealth and prosperity came to Uchiko through its wax trade. Just outside the old district is Uchiko-za, a traditional kabuki theater which allows visitors to tour its backstage area.

Today's Report
 
Uchiko and the sunny days continue

Inside Uchikoza, the floor here is sloped.

Woke up to another sunny day in Matsuyama. Ifm not complaining, sunny days over rainy days especially when Ifm travelling. My room at Kowakuen Hotel is huge and has two beds. One for me, one for my mess. Being on the 9th floor, the view is pretty good, and I have a view of Dogo Onsen which is a stonefs throw away from the hotel. Therefs also valet parking here, which makes me feel like a rich person handing my keys over to the valet. I'll have to practise handing keys over smoothly instead of fumbling awkwardly like I do now.

At the front entrance of Kowakuen Hotel.

The view through the window from my room, Dogo Onsen is on the left.

Todayfs walk is at Uchiko, a town that has gone through different industries, the first and foremost being wax, both candle and vegetable wax. These days, its main industry is fruit and different fruit all through the year. My local guide for today is Ochi-san. I think shefs well-known in Uchiko as there were many people greeting her as we walked and everyone seemed to know who she is! She introduced Uchiko and explained all the different historical points to me.

Professional candle maker at work.

Ochi-san and I on our way back after the tour.

It was a lot of information to take in about 2hrs but I think I did alright. I learnt new terms like Rojikukan (used to describe the space/walkway between two buildings), Shitomido (a two layer window cover for shogi windows), Shogi (a little foldable deck/bench just below the windows) and Odo no haneagedo (the huge main door that has to be lifted up inside in the day time). There is just so much to learn from olden architecture!

Three of the new words can be found in this picture. Can you find them?

After Uchiko, I left for Ozu to meet with Sone-san for lunch. He brought me to Abura-ya, and not only was the food delicious, the interior was beautiful as well. Following lunch, we went on a little walk around the Ozu historical area. There are a lot of things to see in Ozu, with the main attractions being the castle (more architectural points) and Garyu Sansou (interesting interior design). The historical area isnft big and can be seen in about half a day.

Inside Abura-ya, looking down from above.

One of the shop owners showing me how to spin a top.

A 'castle guard' and 'Sakamoto Ryoma' chatting in front of Ozu castle

Ifm hearing whispers of Typhoon 26 headed in my direction. Herefs hoping that itfd blow away and Ifll get to cycle on the Shimanami Kaido.

My room at Kowakuen Hotel.

Uchiko-za. You have to read the words on the board from right to left.

Ochi-san and the little decoration piece she made with materials found in Uchiko.

Ryoma's back?

The owner of Abura-ya and his wife.

Another shop owner showing me his top skills.

Tea ceremony in Garyu Sansou.

Garyu Sansou from the outside.

A bat motif door handle. How cool is that!

The person who made these studs put his name on the left stud. Can you see it?

Ozu Castle looking a little like it's made with lego bricks.

Today's Program
 
Today's Walk: In the old town of Uchiko

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Today we walk through the historical district of Uchiko and enjoy its pleasant small town atmosphere. Starting at Uchiko Station, we make our way to Uchiko-za and tour the traditional kabuki theater, continue to the Uchiko History Museum, before heading to the beautiful streets of Yokaichi Old Town. We conclude the day with a visit to the impressive Kamihaga Residence, which shares about the town's storied past via an informative wax museum.

Date October 13, 2013
Start Time 10:00
Start Uchiko Station
Goal Kamihaga Residence
Distance 2 kilometers (about 2 hours)
Terrain Today's walk is easy and leisurely, along town streets which are mostly on level ground. On some side streets, pedestrians have to share the road with vehicles.
Weather Average daytime high: 24 degrees Celsius (75 degrees Fahrenheit)
Average nighttime low: 14 degrees Celsius (57 degrees Fahrenheit)
Weather Forecast for Matsuyama
Access Uchiko can be accessed from Matsuyama by trains or buses in about 30-60 minutes. The limited express departing Matsuyama at 9:02 and the local train departing at 8:42 reach Uchiko in time for today's walk. Without stops, it takes about 20 minutes to walk from the Kamihaga Residence (F@, Kamihagatei) back to the station.
More details on how to get to Uchiko
Lodgings It is difficult to find lodging in Uchiko. Accommodation is more readily available at nearby Matsuyama City.
Search hotels in Matsuyama through Agoda, Booking.com or Japanican

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Daily Quiz
The deadline for answering the quiz question for day 10 has passed.

What is the old name of Ehime Prefecture?

2%   Sanuki
2%   Awa
0%   Tosa
0%   Bungo
95%   None of the above

The correct answer is: None of the above

The old name of Ehime Prefecture is Iyo. Sanuki is the old name of Kagawa Prefecture, Tosa the old name of Kochi Prefecture and Bungo the old name of part of Oita Prefecture.

Current Standings: (after 30 days)

28 Points: Csabba, AlexanderStankov
27 Points: gladhiola, almoehi, ZoomX2, mikaelus
26 Points: Rabbityama, Proxy707

More about the quiz
 

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