Hi,I’m Keiko from Osaka!
Uji is a beautiful city between Kyoto city and Nara city.
Rather quiet, compared with Kyoto city which is full of tourists from all over, Uji can be enjoyed by anyone who want to experience the traditions and history of Kyoto in quiet.
Besides enjoying the tea and matcha, which are the absolute must items to try, there are many places to see and experience.
This time, let me introduce you to Top 7 things to do in Uji city.
Top 7 Things to Do in Uji, Kyoto!Enjoy traditions and history of Kyoto
1.Byodo-in Temple/平等院鳳凰堂Byodo-in, a World Heritage site, was established in the year of 1052, the year considered by people to be the beginning of the end of the world.
The temple flourished during the Heian period.
The temple went through several fires however were later renovated, regaining its beauty.
The phoenix hall, or locally referred to as “hou-ou-do,” is regarded as the symbol of Byodo-in as well as one of the most treasured cultural assets of Japan.
The hall stands on the pond, looking as if it is a temple standing on “the Buddhist Pure Land.”
The temple’s roofing structure also looks like a phoenix spreading its wings, thus the name.
There are so many cultural treasures to see and appreciate here.
The complex also has a recently completed museum as well as a tea salon where you can have a taste of matcha and other teas from Uji area.
Byodo-in is a 10 minutes’ walk from either JR Uji station on Nara Line or Keihan Uji Line.
2.Matcha Cafe Hopping/抹茶巡りUji is famous for its premium tea and matcha.
So this is a perfect place for you to do matcha cafe hopping to taste matcha drinks and sweets.
Shops such as Nakamura Tokichi and Ito Kyuemon that were introduced previously are great places for you to enjoy matcha tea as well as their famous matcha parfait.
Also, located conveniently across Byodo-in temple is Taiho-an, which is a nice little teahouse operated by the City Government of Uji.
It offers a bowl of matcha along with the Japanese traditional sweats for only ¥500.
You can also have the tea ceremony for ¥1,200 though you need to reserve 3 days in advance.
Tickets must be purchased at the Tourism Information Center, which stands right next to the Taiho-an.
3.Uji Shrine and Ujigami Shrine/宇治神社と宇治上神社Uji Shirne and Ujigami Shrine are Shinto shrines.
The vermilion-colored structures brightly stand out in the forested area of Uji, a perfect place to look into the Shintoism or to be in touch with the nature and fresh air.
Ujigami shrine is a World Heritage Side, its “main hall” being the oldest in Japan.
Move on to the south side of Ujigami Shrine, to Uji Shrine.
Don’t forget to draw an omikuji, a Japanese fortune telling paper strip here.
It is so cute, that the paper strip is inside a rabbit container.
I am sure they will bring you a good luck or at least a smile.
The entrance is free at both shrines.
4.Asagiri-bashi Bridge/朝霧橋Standing in front of the Uji Shrine is Asagiribashi Bridge.
This is one of the most photogenic bridges in Kyoto.
Its vermilion color highlights very well in the calm green forest.
The view from this bridge is so peaceful and soul washing.
It will be a scenic stroll for you to visit Byodoin, cross this bridge and visit the two shrines.
Next,let’s go to the museum of “the World’s oldest novel” in Japan!
5.The Tale of Genji Museum/源氏物語ミュージアムThe Tale of Genji is the earliest classic literature of Japan and also often referred to as “the World’s oldest novel.”
Written by a lady, Murasaki Shikibu, in the early 11th century, the Table of Genji depicts of the life of imperial court and love affairs from the viewpoint of Prince Genji.
By visiting the museum, you will learn not only about this classic literature but the life of the Heian period, which flourished in Uji.
This is a must visit to the fans of the Japanese history and literature.
6.Mimurotoji Temple/三室戸寺Mimurotoji is a Buddhist temple famous for flowers that bloom all season in the compound.
Currently (In June), hydrangeas are in full bloom.
The hydrangeas festival is until July 8th and you can view the temple compound full of 10,000 hydrangeas of 50 kinds.
This will be the most picturesque spot in Kyoto during the rain.
Mimurotoji Temple can be accessed via Mimuroto station on Keihan Line, which is the next station after Uji station.
7.Manpukuji Temple/萬福寺Manpuku-ji is a temple established by a Chinese monk, thus its structures and the culture are heavily influenced by those of China.
Unlike other temples in Kyoto, Manpukiji is very colorful and exotic.
At this temple, you can enjoy fucha ryori, which is a Chinese version of shojin ryori (diet of monks).
Unlike other shojin ryori which can be strictly vegan and less flavorful, fucha ryori is beautifully presented, and can be enjoyed by any food enthusiast weather or not you are a vegetarian.
Manpukuji temple is a short 5 minutes’ walk from JR Oubaku Station on the JR Nara Line or Keihan Oubaku Station on the Keihan Uji Line.
I hope you have a great time in Uji,Kyoto!