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Uwa Museum of Folk Tools

A remarkably eclectic collection of items illuminating the rich daily life of the region.

Uwa Museum of Folk Tools

The Uwa Museum of Folk Tools is located up a stone-paved lane that leads to Kōkyō-ji Temple. Opposite the Museum of Folk Tools is the Kaimei School. This little area offers an interesting spectacle of roofs in various styles at all sorts of levels, with the hills that surround Uwa in the near distance.

The museum looks deceptively small from the front. However, the museum runs parallel to the main street of Unomachi and a flight of stairs at the end descends into another building, and the collection is extensive.

‘Folk tools’ is a fairly inclusive concept, and the exhibits cover everything from cooking and eating utensils to clothing, festival paraphernalia, entertainments such as record players and cinemas, to agricultural equipment.

Everything is presented in attractive displays. The absence of glass cases give the exhibits an immediacy that compels a powerful nostalgia, even if your own past doesn’t happen to have included, say pewter kettles, or convenient DDT spray guns for dealing with mosquitoes. Although we imagine that we live in an age of abundant, high-quality consumer products, this museum shows us a past where people enjoyed a wealth of well-crafted items, none of which were made of plastic. In addition to the displays upstairs, there’s a vault with closely packed shelves of fascinating antiques, which you’re kindly asked not to touch.

Besides the daily items, a separate room is filled with amazing dioramas of Unomachi as it used to be, peopled by little figures in period costume, with pilgrims dressed in white with cone hats and staffs.

There’s also an exhibition of a Shōwa period photographer’s studio, with many antique cameras that you can actual pick up and play with. The studio has a selection of Japanese clothes that you can dress up in for selfies.

Information

Name in Japanese: 宇和民具館

Pronunciation: uwa mingu kan

Address: 3-106 Uwacho Unomachi, Seiyo, Ehime 797-0015

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