This small farming town in the mountains south of Matsuyama was a major producer of Japanese paper and wax until the early 20th century Now it's a peaceful mountain town of old merchant houses, candle and umbrella workshops, and an impressive turn-of-the-20th-century Kabuki theater. In the mid-20th century, it became famous as the hometown of the novelist Oe Kenzaburo, the second Japanese writer to win the Nobel Prize in literature.

One of Uchiko's unexpected delights is the mammoth sleeping Buddha statue inside Kosho-ji Temple. The temple was founded in the 15th century, but the Buddha statue dates from 1998. Its relative youth doesn't detract from its impressive serenity.

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