A bit before midday I caught an express train heading south from Matsuyama into the interior of Shikoku. About 25 minutes later I got off at the town of Uchiko, where I’d spend the next couple of hours. Uchiko is quiet little place that is home to less than 20,000 people and from the train station it took me only a little over 15 minutes to walk to the part of town that I wanted to see. It was a really pleasant day when I visited Uchiko and I had a good time as I walked through charming neighborhoods and past small community shrines.
Uchiko was once home to a very prosperous wax industry that produced white wax of the highest quality. Wealthy businessmen built large houses and workshops in the city and today in the Yokaichi District there’s a street full of preserved buildings from Uchiko’s heyday. A couple of the former homes allow visitors to take a look inside and another has a public garden. One of the most prominent properties in the Yokaichi District is the Kamihaga Residence, which I will be covering in a separate post tomorrow. Walking along the preserved street gives a glimpse of what Uchiko looked like back when its wax was famous throughout Japan and even exported to both Europe and North America.
Along the preserved street there was a small rest area with a guestbook that visitors can sign. I gifted the people of Uchiko with a masterful haiku that will no doubt inspire the people of the city for generations. For those that can’t read my handwriting, it reads:
Uchiko is nice
The old houses are scenic
I wrote a haiku
Hilariously, I accidentally signed my haiku with a fictitious date. It was October 31 when I visited but for whatever reason I wrote down November 31, which is a day that doesn’t exist. (Or does it?)
A bit past the end of the preserved street in the Yokaichi District is Koshoji Temple. Here you can find a large reclining Buddha statue, as well as a peaceful temple complex that overlooks the surrounding part of Uchiko. Reclining Buddha statues are meant to represent the Buddha’s final days when he was very sick but I like to pretend they actually portray the Buddha taking a day off from the quest for enlightenment in order to indulge in some self-care.