Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Uchiko can be reached in 50 minutes by car or even 30 minutes by limited express

In the outskirt of Uchiko
The medicine store restored with talking mannequins
at the Museum of Merchants in Uchiko





Uchiko old quarters


The Dogo Onsen public bathhouse in Matsuyama
now under renovation but can be bathed in
Real gas lamps at the bathhouse

You will need a few days or even more to look around the Matsuyama area, visiting to the north and south of the city after the major destinations in the city center including the authentic Matsuyama Castle and the proud Dogo Onsen Public Bathhouse  as the one of the three oldest onsen hot spring water in Japan.

ascending stone walls
away from the major route of visiting Matsuyama Castle

The founder of the castle welcomes modern-day visitors.

You will have a whole day's fun in the city. Then the next day, you can try Uchiko tucked away from modern hustle and bustle. The main attraction is the old streets and allays with traditional houses, fortunately forgotten from short-sighted development in the latter half of the last century. On the way, Japan realized the significance of heritage from the past as identity of communities. Uchiko also recognized it and started their good effort to preserve, restore, and make use of what had been handed down to them.

Uchiko once thrived with quality wax production, in particular making it refined. The Haga family developed new methods of making refined wax in the 19th century and they over time came to have 13 branch families. They are still good families though the wax production stopped long time ago in 1924.

The legacy from prosperity remains with the former Kami-Haga residence and factory now restored and open to the public. The main Haga family of Hon-Haga shows its grand facade and architectural features and they can be enjoyed from viewing from the street. The Shimo-Haga residence has a tenant running a soba buckwheat noodle restaurant. 

The Uchiko-za theater is another big attraction, built over a century ago under the auspices of 17 shareholders. It was about to be dismantled once with changing times and the needs but resurrected with people's good thinking. Now it's an ongoing theater for performing art. Tradition prevailed.

The Museum of Merchants featuring their life around 1921 should not be missed, either. It's larger than it looks from the entrance. The old house was converted into this museum; thus architecture features are interesting to see. Wooden buildings can be enlarged later. This house also has the older part from the Edo period and the newer part from the Meiji period. The older's ceiling is obviously lower than the newer's. 

The whole area showcases the old days but is alive with locals living here and kids going to school.

There's so much to appreciate. And perhaps after lunch, you can also try the outskirts of the town, seeing a restored watermill, a rustic covered bridge, terraced rice and vegetable field, and coming across with welcoming smiles from local residents.

The Principal Pillar seen on the third floor
of the Kami-Haga residence

This belongs to the Hon-Haga family.

Details should not be missed.

Inside Uchiko-za theater

He can also be visited in the Uchiko old quarters




Be away from the city once in a while
30 minutes away by car from Uchiko town center












Friday, February 1, 2019

Melbourne is now chaotic with its population increasing 3000 a day

It's a bit untidy or from a Japanese point of view filthy. But hosting many sports events is great including the Australia Open tennis tournament. 











aboriginal heritage walk at royal botanic gardens Melbourne is a must to do

Love, respect, and understanding are what you would like to remember once again while walking with Den, an aboriginal heritage walk guide.





state library of Victoria, in Melbourne, has good exhibits

It's a remarkable building, a great place to find and read books with free wifi access and impressive exhibits of paintings and panels. The Queen Victoria Market is nearby. Recommend visiting both.











Sunday, January 13, 2019

year-end and new-year NAOSHIMA

I rarely take pictures now but am just posting a few taken recently from the end of last year to the beginning of the new year. More people began to go to Teshima in addition to Naoshima. Inujima seems to be still far away physically and psychologically for many. The guests I recently guided, though, decided to go to Inujima, too, after I suggested some options and itineraries for one of their tour days. After all, we had a chartered boat. As is often the case, it was so enjoyable and rewarding. And I feel like keeping Inujima unchanged. 

year-end Pumpkin

new-year seascape

My favorite in Inujima is the one done by Chinatsu SHIMODAIRA, a female Japanese artist in her thirties. She works with leveling strings and elastic bands, things which are just familiar but presented in unexpected ways.

See here to get to know her more.

And this is how her installation in Inujima looks.


Friday, August 24, 2018

hello kitty shinkansen!

Cute Japan


scenic miyajima from the sea



A local oyster farming business offers a boat ride to the oyster beds and near miyajima. The symbolic tori gate is seen, behind which the fabulous shinto shrine, Itsukushima Jinja, stands.

The sea is so close and that gives you a different view and feeling.