Uchiko

Uchiko
Uchiko (内子町 Uchiko-cho) is a town located in Kita District, Ehime Prefecture.

On January 1, 2005 the town of Ikazaki, from Kita District; and the town of Oda, from Kamiukena District, were merged into Uchiko.

The traditional town of Uchiko is surrounded by much natural beauty and is located about 42 kilometers southwest of Matsuyama in the Ehime prefecture. Three streams run through the area: the Oda, the Nakayama and the Fumoto. Uchiko has few flat areas and about 70% of the land is forest. The soil is fertile and the main industry is agriculture, particularly leaf tobacco, shiitake mushrooms, and fruits such as persimmons, grapes and nashi pears. The riversides are used mainly by farms and farmland can extend to the hills and the steep mountainsides. As of April 2005, the population in Uchiko was approximately 20,650. All year round, the stunning views and the very green, fertile mountains and valleys give the people of Uchiko both the feeling of restfulness and economic sustenance.

From the end of the Edo-era (1603–1867) to the end of the Meiji-era (1868–1912), Uchiko developed and thrived as a manufacturing center of Japanese paper and Japanese wax. At that time the Yokaichi and Gokoku districts became industrialised and their historical houses still retain some vestige of Uchiko’s former glory. In the Yokaichi and Gokoku districts is a street of merchant houses, which have solemn white or cream coloured plaster walls, lattices, decorative walls and old-style Japanese desks. This traditional street is about 600 meters long and around 90 of these historical houses are still lived in. The campaign to preserve this old town area has been ongoing since 1975 and the national government designated this area as an “Important Traditional Construction Preservation Area” in 1982.