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Kaimei School

Built in 1882 in the Meiji period, this is one of the oldest primary school buildings in western Japan.

Kaimei School

The Kaimei School in Uwa is one of the oldest primary school buildings in western Japan. It was built in 1882 in the Meiji period. As befits this period when Japan was busy copying Western style, the little school has ‘European’ arch windows, although the porch is unmistakably Japanese. Ehime has traditionally been a prefecture which has placed a strong emphasis on education, and the Kaimei School was built using donations from the wealthier citizens of Uwa.

The building to the right of the entrance is the Shingi-do, a private school and the forerunner to the Kaimei School. Built later, the main, two-story school building is now a museum with displays of textbooks, photos of pupils, school uniforms and educational materials from the Meiji, Taishō, and Shōwa periods. One room of the school is given over to a simulation of how a classroom looked, complete with hard benches, educational posters and a dummy student with a metal pail and cloth for scrubbing the bare wooden floors. The interior with its wooden pillars and creaky floorboards is very atmospheric.

On the left side of the schoolyard is a small archaeological museum. The view of the little schoolyard from the second floor with the temple behind is very photogenic.

As a special attraction, you can take a lesson as it would have been taught in the early Shōwa period. A lady teacher, dressed in the clothing of the time, leads the class through a curriculum that includes language, ethics, and music.

Information

Name in Japanese: 開明学校

Pronunciation: kaimei gakkō

Address: 3-110 Uwacho Unomachi, Seiyo, Ehime 797-0015

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