The Uchiko-za was built in 1916 to celebrate the accession of Emperor Taisho in the economic heyday of Uchiko when performing arts were thriving. During the agricultural off-season, kabuki, puppet theatre, and rakugo (comic story telling), were performed here. It’s a two-storey wooden building with a clay tile roof. In the middle of the last century Uchiko-za was converted to a cinema and later fell into disuse. It was going to be torn down, but was repaired in 1985 by the citizens and revived as a theatre. Currently, more than 70,000 people visit the theatre annually and it’s used by more than 16,000 people a year as a multi-purpose hall.
Inside the theatre, you can go down some steps to the basement where the actors prepared for their dramatic entrances through the floor of the stage, and where the stage hands rotated a circular part of the stage for special effects and scene changes. This all-wooden machinery is still in working order
Bunraku puppet performances are held every August.
Name in Japanese: 内子座
Address: 2102 Uchiko, Kita District, Ehime 791-3301