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The Uchiko Lantern Festival

The town of Uchiko, known for its streets of well-preserved historic buildings, museums and stylish eateries, holds a Lantern Festival each year in mid-September.

The Uchiko Lantern 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 mid-September, Uchiko holds its Lantern Festival. Shikoku Tours offered a tour from Matsuyama to see the beauties of Uchiko in the late summer, coinciding with the festival.

First we visited the steep rice fields of Izumidani Tanada, high in the mountains. These picturesque fields are managed by just two households, and a number of eccentric scarecrows.

After making our way down from the hills, we visited the beautiful modern community centre in the town of Uchiko. Here we enjoyed gilding washi paper under the expert guidance of Hiroyuki Saito. It was very exciting to create a work of art using the simple process.

Local guides then led us through the streets as dusk fell and the lanterns were lit. Each building has its own fascinating architectural features and history.

We ate a delicious dinner featuring the fish and chestnuts of the region, served with unpasteurized local sake. In the hills around Uchiko, there are numerous chestnut trees that produce particularly large chestnuts. Dessert was a specially prepared chestnut with wonderful rich sweetness, with hints of caramel and vanilla.

Uchiko-lantern-festival-dinner

It was dark when we left the restaurant, and people were strolling along the main street dotted with lanterns. Many of the houses were presenting special displays of arts and crafts for sale.

If you’d like to explore the area yourself with a hire car or taxi, contact [email protected].

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