During our stay in Matsuyama, we got a tour of the beautiful town of Uchiko (内子町). This little town located southwest of Matsuyama in the Ehime prefecture is surrounded by natural beauty such as mountains and streams and its residential community is centered on the old, traditional style of architecture.
As we walked through the, I was taken aback by the beauty of town. I felt like I was taken back many years ago, before the skylines of modern day Tokyo. Except I wasn’t and this is present day Uchiko.
But there’s more to Uchiko Town than just a street full of traditional architecture. Uchiko is also home to the Kamihaga Residence and Japanese Wax Museum and the Uchiko Theatre, a traditional Kabuki theatre. Kabuki (歌舞伎) is a sort of dance-drama or musical/play. It’s a traditional form of art that was originally played by an all female cast. The women would play the roles of both men and women. It was a common form of entertainment in the red-light district but the all-female cast (aka onna-kabuki) was later banned for being too erotic and soon became an all male cast (yaro-kabuki). Today, kabuki is still one of the most popular forms of entertainment for all ages and has made its way around the world including to other parts of Asia, Europe, and even here in America.
It might sound silly, but what I enjoyed most about the walk through the town was the light rain and mist surrounding the area. Walking through a traditional town with our umbrellas shielding us from the light droplets; it just felt like a scene from a movie or anime. It was a nice break from the hustle and bustle that Tokyo offered us in the beginning of our trip.
Summer is a time for many festivals throughout Japan and during our visit to the Uchiko Theatre, we found a few performers practicing for a taiko performance. We were lucky enough to be treated to a nice little preview! I’ll end this post with a video. Enjoy!