Sponsored by Uchiko Town
During a visit to Uchiko in Ehime Prefecture, you will discover beautiful old houses perfectly preserved and typically Japanese. You will even be able to sleep in one, which has recently been renovated into a hotel. The Uchikobare guesthouse is the perfect place to stay in Uchiko in the heart of the historic Yokaichi district.
Centennial House in Uchiko
The guesthouse is located in Uchiko’s historic district just a 10-minute walk from the train station. The owners renovated the century-old Japanese house into a hotel with the help of friends and other residents. The renovation is a successful blend of modernity and tradition. This type of accommodation is ideal for those who wish to discover the aesthetics of a traditional Japanese house.
The Guesthouse Uchikobare
When we arrived, we were warmly welcomed by our host in a large, friendly lounge. The ground floor carries all the common areas: the lounge bar, a small kitchen for staying guests, showers and toilets. In the communal lounge, you can choose between a Western atmosphere with a large table or a Japanese atmosphere with small coffee tables on a tatami floor and elements of typical Japanese decoration, including the ornamental alcove: tokonoma. Upon arrival, you will obviously have to take off your shoes to access the tatami area and the rooms. At the end of the living room, a large bay window overlooks the small garden.
Rooms with Warming Atmospheres
All rooms are therefore upstairs, under a beautiful, wooden, exposed framework. In our double room, we had a small desk and a large bed with soft blankets to keep warm! On the desk, there was a small floral decoration made with sumi, a local charcoal that makes flowers last longer.
In the corridor, the partitions were created from a patchwork of materials. The owners wanted to implement several techniques to illustrate Japanese know-how. The hotel also has well-appointed dormitories.
Dinner time in Uchiko
Following their recommendation, we had dinner at an izakaya (a traditional Japanese bistro), called Enoki located only a few minutes walk from the guest-house. Apparently we were lucky to find places, because the place is very popular with the locals, so it is usually full. We sat at the counter facing the kitchen to enjoy the show! There is no menu in English, but we managed to order some dishes thanks to the Google Translate application.
We tested kamameshi for the first time, a typical Japanese dish that literally means rice (meshi) in an iron pot (kama). The main ingredient of kamameshi is rice, to which we added various ingredients: vegetables, fish or meat. The set simmers for several minutes in the kama (iron pot) which is placed over a candle that must be covered entirely. Once the flame is extinguished, we can finally open the pot and discover our kamameshi. You have to mix it well before serving. We tried the kamameshi octopus, which was delicious! À la carte, there is also a wide choice of skewers and tempura.
Access and practical information
Only 40 kilometers southwest of Matsuyama, Uchiko is easily accessible by train via JR Yosan Line. From Matsuyama, you can choose between the express train for a 25-minute ride, or the local train with a 55-minute ride. By car, allow about 45 minutes from Matsuyama. The Uchikobare guesthouse is about 10 minutes from the train station.
Original article: fabienne