Kagawa, the smallest prefecture in Japan, was once called Sanuki province, and its smallest local government was Utazu located in the middle of Sanuki. However, Utazu was the political center of Sanuki province and also the distribution center of Sanuki three white: cotton, sugar, and salt. Those were the special products of the Takamatsu Domain.
Utazu kept its quaint charm as the main entrance of Shikoku, and you still can find lots of old houses and traditional Machiyas (townhouse) strolling in the street. However, the preserved Komachi (old street) area is slowly getting desolate because of many issues including population aging, vacant rate increasing, and traditional architectures decaying.
Since 2004, the residents and stores try to preserve and increase interest in the historical area by holding events, such as the Hina Matsuri on the 3rd of March, a day dedicated to the girls. The old streets which are full of traditional temples and townhouse are used as a perfect background to exhibit the traditional dolls passed down from generation to generation. The events also hold lots of performances and stands of handicraft vendors or locals products. Moreover, you can deeply appreciate the old atmosphere of Utazu wandering in the street, and even get the chance to find a hina doll inherited from the Meiji period on the flea market.
Some residents display their hina dolls into their old house inviting visitors to come in. This is a good opportunityto appreciate the traditional beauty of Japanese interior and architecture. Some of the houses are no more occupied; however, posterity protect and preserve the housing, opening the houses during the event as museums that tourist can freely visit.
The hina dolls exhibited in the old house of Utazu have been inherited from many eras, from the Meiji period to the Heisei period. While you appreciate the doll pay attention to the details of the figures and clothing that definite in which period they have been crafted. It will definitely increase your interest and add amusement in your tour around the city.
This event named “Utazu Machiya and Hina Dolls” had in 2004, only 50 to 60 houses and stores joining the event, and about 3,000 people came to visit. Last year there were more than 100 houses and stores gathering for the event and attracting no less than 17,000 visitors.
The event is emphasizing the culture and traditions of Utazu, sharing with tourists the charm of the area. The great efforts of the residents and groups working on the event even achieved in 2019 to be praised by the Minister of Land, Infrastructure, Transport, and Tourism obtaining the award named hand-made hometown prize.
Nowadays, “Utazu Machiya and Hina Dolls” becomes the most symbolic spring event, with such a special atmosphere and beautiful old streets that you will wish to stay longer.
Utazu Machiya and Hina Dolls（うたづの町家とおひなさん）
Access: 15-minute walk from the south exit of JR Utazu station.
- Address: 〒769-0200 香川県綾歌郡宇多津町 Around Utazu old street area (the south side of Utazu town office)
- Event period: 2020. 2. 29 (Sat) ~ 3. 1 (Sun)
- Business hours: 9：00～17：00（3/1 ～16：00）
- Ticket: Free
- TEL: +81-87-749-8009
- Wi-Fi: N/A
- Language: Japanese
- Credit Card: N/A
- Shuttle bus in event period: Every 30 minutes one bus, and 5 minutes from the station to venue.
Passengers pick-up: JR Utazu station south exit (9:00~)
Passengers drop-off: Utazu town office（2/29～5：30，3/1～4：30）