Japan // Shikoku //

Practicalities

By the fastest trains Uchiko is one hour from Uwajima and 25min from Matsuyama. JR offers a handy ¥2700 day-pass ticket covering Matsuyama, Uchiko and Ōzu. Several buses a day run from Matsuyama, Ōzu and Uwajima, stopping a couple of hundred metres to the east of Yōkaichi. Bicycle rental is available at the train station (daily 9.30am–5pm; ¥300/hr). There’s also an old-fashioned bus that shuttles back and forth from the station to Yōkaichi (Fri–Sun; ¥800 for round-trip ticket).

Although there’s no need to stay overnight in Uchiko, there are some colourful ryokan and minshuku in and around town. Matsunoya (松乃屋; t 0893/44-5000; ¥10,001−15,000, ¥20,001−30,000 with two meals,) is a pleasant, traditional ryokan on the main road leading up to Yōkaichi. Some 2km north of Yōkaichi, Farm Inn Raum Kokuriko (ファームインRAUM古久里来; t 0983/44-2079; ¥15,001−20,000 with two meals) is a rather cultured farmhouse-minshuku where you can help the owners cultivate rice and harvest from various fruit orchards. For alternatives, contact Uchiko Tourist Association (t 0893/44-3790) or the International Association (t 0893/44-6137) on the third floor of Uchiko Town Hall (内子市役所; Mon–Fri 8.30am–5pm).

For food, be aware that many of the restaurants along Yōkaichi are overpriced tourist traps; one exception is Komachi (こまち; daily except Wed 9am–5pm & 6pm–midnight), a charming teahouse serving green tea and snacks such as sweet bean cake. It’s also a gift shop and turns into a bar at night. Down on the island in the river there is also Karari (からり), a modern restaurant, fresh-produce market and ice-cream parlour. Uchiko’s twin-town links with Germany are celebrated here with a menu heavy on sausages, and at lunchtime they also run a small udon restaurant and a hamburger bar on the island.

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