One of Japan's few remaining original working theaters, Uchiko-za allows you to explore all elements of traditional Japanese drama.
Uchiko-za was built in 1916 and renovated in 1985 after being saved by Uchiko's residents
The building can hold up to 650 people
Uchiko-za is one of 20 traditional theaters in Japan, but only one of a handful that still holds performances
Access Uchiko-za by train. It is conveniently located in the center of the town.
Take a train from Matsuyama JR station to Uchiko. Once you're there, Uchiko-za is just a 10-minute walk away. You can rent a bike from the gift shop near the station or take the Chagamaru Retro Bus to get there. The bus runs on weekends and holidays.
See the lovingly restored facade of the building. Festooned with brightly colored flags, it features contrasting white plaster and dark wood walls and a clay tiled roof. The interior of the theater is no less interesting. Highlights include a revolving stage, trap door and pulley systems.
If booked in advance, Uchiko's Tourism Center offers guided tours of Uchiko-za in English. Not only will guides take you around the theater, but you will also have the chance to make Japanese washi paper or to see the Kamihaga residence.
If you visit on the day of a performance, theater tours are impossible. However, it does mean you can experience kabuki or bunraku puppet shows first hand. Audio guides are available to help with translations of the visually resplendent performances.