Around 1,000 years ago, Fujiwara no Sumitomo, a noble of the Heian Period, led some pirates on the Seto Inland Sea in rebellion against the central government from a base on Hiburi Island.
In 1615, Uwajima was governed by Date Hidemune, first son of Japan's most influential shogun, Date Masamune. It was under his governance that the arable land, villages and ports which form the urban area that is Uwajima today developed.
Although it is a provincial city located in the southwest of Ehime Prefecture, Uwajima is also a city of culture which has frequently appeared in important events in Japanese history.
Uwajima Castle was built by a commander called Takatora Todo in 1601, who was said to have been a master of castle construction. After the second lord of Uwajima Domain rebuilt its main tower, the castle was inhabited by the Date family for 9 generations (260 years). It is said that there were 170 castles spread throughout Japan during the Edo period, but only 12 castles with main towers built before the Edo period remain today, and as valuable parts of the nation's cultural heritage, they have all been designated as Important Cultural Properties. The tower of Uwajima Castle still rises into the sky as a symbol of Uwajima even today, some 400 years later.
In the late Edo period (1853 - 1868), despite being only a medium-sized domain, Uwajima enjoyed a strong influence and an outstanding spirit of innovation, for example participating actively in the politics of the Edo shogunate government. Date Munenari, the 8th lord of Uwajima Domain, carved his name in Japan's as a wise ruler who was a leader of Japan's modernization, for example overseeing the manufacture of the first steamship to be made entirely in Japan.