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The Uchiko Bamboo Festival

The town of Uchiko is known for its streets of well-preserved historic buildings, museums and stylish eateries. In early August, Uchiko holds its Bamboo Festival when the main street is decorated with bamboo poles hung with elaborate decorations.

The Uchiko Bamboo Festival

Uchiko is a rural area in Ehime Prefecture, about an hour’s journey from Matsuyama. The town of Uchiko is known for its streets of well-preserved historic buildings which now house museums and stylish eateries. In early August, Uchiko holds its Bamboo Festival – sasa matsuri in Japanese – when the main street is decorated with bamboo poles hung with elaborate decorations. There’s a yukata contest and a children’s lantern procession on the first day, and on the second day, the main attraction where teams perform the local dance down the street. Events on the third day include taiko-drum performances by local groups in the Uchiko theater.

As you enjoy the festival decorations, you can drop into some of the old buildings, which have been turned into interesting museums.

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The Uchiko-Za Theatre, just off the main street, is free to enter during the festival. The theatre was scheduled for demolition, but the people of Uchiko lobbied to preserve it, and today it’s used for theatrical performances and community events.

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During the Uchiko festival, the citizens perform karaoke classics in front of the traditional pine-tree backdrop.

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The decorations take their inspiration from diverse Japanese and Western themes of different eras. The variety and vigour of the artwork is extraordinary.

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