Uwajima Domain enjoyed considerable influence over the Edo shogunate government during the late Edo period (1853 - 1868), and through a combination of outstanding foresight and an equally outstanding educational system, produced a great many businessmen, engineers, intellectuals and other prominent figures.
The kindness of the local people which the warm climate and magnificent natural surroundings have nurtured, and the townscape which preserves the atmosphere of the old castle town, have remained to the present day to form a part what makes Uwajima such a charming place. The city continues to captivate vast numbers of visitors, writers and politicians among them.
Uwajima Ushi-Oni Matsuri is one of the biggest festivals in Shikoku, and is held from July 22 to July 24 every year.
An "ushi-oni" ("cow demon") with a scary head on a cow-shaped, 5- to 6-m bamboo frame body and with a sword-shaped tail, parades through the streets, waving his neck and sticking his head into each house to drive away evil as he goes.
This piece of folk performance art has been down in Uwajima City since olden times, and has over 350 years of history. Eight people in deer masks, the upper parts of their bodies covered with draped cloths, dance to plaintive melodies while beating drums on their chests.
Visitors to the city can enjoy the performance together with the ushi-oni every year on October 29, the day of the shrine festival.
During the governance of its fifth lord Uwajima Domain (1749), fighting broke out between it and Sendai Domain, to which it was connected by blood, over family status. When the two domains came face to face, the Date family from Sendai Domain proudly sang "Sansa", a traditional folk song of Sendai. Not wanting to be outdone, the Date family from Uwajima Domain then improvised an "Uwajima Sansa" of their own.
To Sendai Domain who had treated them like a branch family, the people from Uwajima Domain sang, 'We share the same Date blood, so let's be friends.' It is said that the song imbued with the deep sentiments of Uwajima Domain continued to be sung ever after as an inspiration to the warriors of Uwajima Domain, and that the story that went with it likewise continued to be told.