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February 16, 2016 - Uwajima - Ehime Prefecture
As I started the day in Otsuki and finished in Ozu, I have decided to post two user reports for today. Do note that there is still quite a bit of distance between the towns in Kochi and Ehime but a motor way (paid) really speeds things up compared to the 50 km/h along windy roads with red lights.
As I drove between Ozuki and Ozu today, I have included 2 maps. The first two locations visited includes:
(1) Shidenkai Museum
(2) Nanrakuen Garden
The map below shows the locations in downtown Uwajima
For the inner city, I visited the following locations as well
(3) Uwajima Castle
(4) Date Museum
(5) Tenshaen Garden
(6) Warei Shrine
(7) Taga Shrine
Around 50 km's from Ozuki was the Shidenkai Museum that sits on top of a hill. This museum is not very big but it includes a salvaged Zero Fighter which was brought up from the ocean a couple of decades ago. The jet has been lovingly restored and it's free to enter.
One of the more interesting parts of the museum was different rusted parts of the motor which are still in their original shape. Let's just say that 60 years of seawater and steel are not a good combination.
Right next to the museum was a large tower which would have shown great views of the local area. However it was down for maintenance which is quite common in the low season.
Another 25 of so km's away from the museum is Nanrakuen Garden which are a very large and well planned Japanese landscape garden. It costs 300 yen to enter and it's currently plum blossom season so I was in luck.
Compared to the great gardens in Japan, this one is most like the garden in Okayama as it has a lot of space and is not as manicured as the gardens in Kanazawa or Takamatsu. Do note that I do see this as a high quality garden and would be much busier if it was on Honshu.
Nanrakuen Garden may not have a plum garden as large as Kairakuen Garden in Mito, but it's definitely bigger than most plum gardens in Japan. Also note that they have different types of plum tree varieties which means they should be flowering for the next few weeks.
As a part of the festivities, the garden had free Ume tea to try which can only be described as a type of slightly sour pickled plum. Do note you can also buy sweets such as machha and the like for 100-200 yen per piece.
As this garden is not fully on the large scale foreign tourist map - I should let people know that the garden is very large in size and consists of 2 small lakes - as the word pond is being a bit modest to these two bodies of water.
For my next stop, I went to Uwajima castle which is around 15 km's from the last stop. This is a relatively nice reproduction castle which costs only 200 yen to enter. Do note that most castles in Japan are more designed towards defence so they tend to be on top of hills and the like. Castles like the one in Kyoto and Matsumoto tend to be unlike what is normal for Japanese castles.
My next stop was the Date Museum which was closed for today and the following day as they changed exhibitions. Like most of Japan, they are starting to show the girls day stuff which I have shown in my previous along with upcoming user posts.
Tenshaen Garden is located very close to the Date Museum and is home to a pretty tea house and a heart shaped pond with some nice gardens. It costs 300 yen to enter and would look absolutely fabulous when some of the main flowers are in bloom.
Located around 1km from Tenshaen Garden is the Warei Shrine. This is what I would call one of the more nicer shrines and you can tell that it is more frequented when they always have people on site selling good luck charms - such as here.
Located around 400 meters from the Warei Shrine is the more famous Taga Shrine - which is known to celebrate fertility and everything else that it might entail. The shrine is also home to quite a few interesting statues which will make most people giggle like a little schoolboy.
The shrine is also home to a rather large museum collection of everything related to fertility in both Japanese, Asian and Western history over three floors. The museum costs 800 yen to enter but there is actually quite a lot to see - but even more if you are with someone that reads Japanese. Do note that there is a no photo policy inside and you have to be over 20 to enter - but when you have historical pieces of things you would find in adult shops and the like I think that it's probably a good idea.
For those who are interested but don't want to pay the 800 yen - the general statues around the shrine are enough for most. Do note that the museum was interesting and had more stuff in it than I was expecting - but I won't probably visit it again.
So to put it simple - I enjoyed my time in Uwajima and I made my way to the little town of Seiyo later in the day.
Nanrakuen Garden: http://www.nanreku.jp/site/nanrakuen/#_=_ (in Japanese)
Uwajima English Monthly Tourist Magazine: http://uwajimadeep.tumblr.com/tagged/magazine (in English)
Uwajima Tourism Bureau: http://www.uwajima.org (in Japanese)