on foot - standard course 1
Course for leisurely walking around to see popular tourist spotsCourse for comfortably exploring the old town, as a kind of time leap into the Meiji era.
Please get a good taste of Uchiko's charm by going around the popular sightseeing spots and shops.
Preservation District for Groups of Historic Buildings
Townscape in Yōkaichi/Gokoku
Street that feel like "I'm back home".
Let's walk slowly
Splendid mansions or storehouses with thick mud walls etc., built in the late Edo and Meiji era stand side by side. Rather than a unified design of groups of buildings, a rich townscape has been created where the houses are different one by one. It is fun to stroll with the eyes wide open to admire to unique designs and decorations of the buildings.
Thanks to the Townscape Preservation Movement that has been organised by local residents, the former looks and ambiance of the townscape have remained unchanged till now. Even new buildings were constructed under consideration of the old townscape to preserve the overall appearance.
National Important Cultural Asset
Japanese Wax Museum & Kamihaga Residence
More about the Japan wax industry of bygone days
Important Cultural Property
The mansion of the Kamihaga family, a branch of the Honhaga family who both made their fortune producing Japan wax, is now used as museum.You can see impressive things such as the sailboat-shaped tile on top of the Onigawara (devils face) tile that extends up from the roof, the dark red Degohshi (latticed bay-window) and the Namako wall (white stucco grid pattern).
On the vast site of about 4,300 sqm with 10 buildings, including the Omoya (main house), Suijiba (cookhouse), Kamaba (boiler room house), Shimai-beya (dressing rooms) etc., you can feel the elevated lifestyle of a wealthy merchant.The area behind the main house is now an exhibition about Japan wax production methods and processes for conveying traditional techniques to present generations.
Honhaga Residence & Ōmura Residence
Features of the cultural property
The Honhaga family laid the foundation to the Japan wax production industry in Uchiko.Built in the most prosperous era of the Japan wax industry, this buildings have a gorgeous design and are of highest quality.There is for example, a hexagon type Namako wall (with white stucco grid relief) on the front of the Honhaga residence or the "morning sun & crane" plaster relief (their company trade mark at that time) on the Dozo-storehouse.The Gegyo (pediment decoration) with the Kotee relief "crane in the pine tree", visible from the garden or the Gegyo on the main house showing a "dragon in the clouds" are designs that can only be found at the head family residence.
The Ohmura residence was built before the Uchiko Japan wax industry was thriving.It was used for several businesses such as for a store, for cloth dyeing and for a silk business.During repair works from 2009 - 2012 the remains of 11 dyeing jars were found.Here you can see the state of townhouses in the late Edo to the Meiji era.
(* These 2 buildings are not open to the public.)
Japanese Candle Maker Ōmori
Gems created by the skills of the traditional craftsmen
An old workshop that continues the traditional craft from the Edo period.Japanese candles are produced by scooping the melted warm raw wax by hand, smearing it onto the rotated wick, repeating the process so that additional layers are added like annual rings of a tree and finally applying a glossy finish by glazing with hot wax.They are made one by one and require a lot of skill, effort and time from the craftsman.
Japanese candles resist strong wind, don't soot or drip wax and last longer.Japanese Candles are featured on the website of the British Museum and due to their warm large flames they are very popular.
An extravagant mansion left by this great man of Uchiko.
The spirits of Takahashi Ryutaro and his father Takahashi Yoshihira, who was called the "Sage of Uchiko", still live in the family residence, which is now used as a guest house.Takahashi Ryutaro contributed greatly to the political and economic world and many artifacts related to him are exhibited here.The exhibition also shows exhibits donated by Asahi beer, and others such as memorabilia of his professional baseball team, the "Takahashi Unions".
There is also a cafe, where you can drink coffee or tea in a relaxed atmosphere.
Museum of Commercial & Domestic Life
Work and Life in a Pharmacy a starting point to learn about the history of the town
A former pharmacy/drugstore that consists of two buildings from different eras, one from Edo and the other from Meiji.In the main building the life around the year 1921 is reproduced using utensils of that time and as well as dolls.Here you can see a variety of life scenes that show the former state of taking meals, engaging in business negotiations, customer service, cooking, laundry etc.
The History Exhibition in the storage house on the ground floor informs about the town's history and folklore as well as about personalities who were born here.
A-runze - Uchiko Town Visitor Center & Rest & Shopping station: Nanze
Looking for seasonal food in Uchiko
In the Uchiko Visitor Center "A-Runze" you can search information via internet as well as have a rest in the rest area.Our staff will help you find popular tourist destinations and gourmet restaurants.
The Rest & Shopping station "Nanze" offers only selected products "Made in Uchiko".Here you also find a cafe style restaurant serving lunch plates and handmade cakes.
Thanks to the zeal of local residents in Uchiko
we now have an authentic theater from old times
The theater has been financed by contributions from local merchants and was built in 1916.An elegant and impressive wooden two-story building with a timber shingle covered Dutch gable roof.You can feel the special atmosphere of the theater at that time, if you go on the "Flower Path" along the auditorium to the stage, or visited the understage.
Initially the theater should be "demolished and turned into a parking lot", but fortunately, as part of the Townscape Preservation Movement Uchiko-za could be protected and restored to the original state.More than 30,000 people come per year to see the playhouse, and it is again used as a living theater.