Are you a matcha junkie? Or are you obsessed with gyokuro (Japan’s most premium green tea)? If the answer is a yes, then Uji City is a definite must-see! It’s a worthwhile visit for ocha fans because it’s known for producing some of Japan’s greatest green tea. While this quiet village is just south of Kyoto City, it is famous for the Byodoin Temple, which is shown on the back of the Japanese ten-yen coin.
For over a thousand years, the tea-growing region of Uji has been regarded as one of the greatest in Japan, and that reputation continues to this day.
Omotesando is an excellent location to pay a visit if you need to fulfil your green tea cravings. This winding road leads to Byodoin Temple and is lined with tea stores selling a wide variety of green teas, many of which are made in the neighbourhood. There are also eateries providing soba noodles, ice cream, and traditional Japanese sweets like dango and warabimochi, all of which are flavoured with green tea.
Walking from Omotesando, you’ll come across the river that splits the city in two. Many tea establishments can be found on the other side of the Uji River, where you can discover more about the tea’s production. Local tea experts will teach you how to create the ideal cup of Uji’s tea and what makes it so remarkable.
From mid-June until the end of September, Uji River offers cormorant fishing and river excursions. Fishing with cormorant birds to catch sweetfish (ayu) is a traditional practice that has been around for about 1,300 years. This place is now a major tourist attraction
The Tale of Genji Museum is a must-see for fans of Japanese literature. This is a tribute to Murasaki Shikibu’s great work, which is set in Uji partially.
The temples in Uji
Byodoin Temple (seen above), Uji’s most Instagrammable landmark and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is located at the other end of Omotesando. Phoenix Hall, a stunning wooden edifice from the Heian era, can be seen in the city. Byodoin was chosen for the 10 coin because of how beautiful it looks when the light hits it and reflects off the adjacent pond.
Locations near to Uji
As well as Mampukuji Temple and Mimurotoji Temple, additional important temples and shrines can be found around the area. With its expansive gardens filled with a variety of seasonal flowers, the latter is also known as the “flower temple.”
JAMMIN’ THE WEEKEND AWAY
A day journey from Kyoto, Nara, or other neighbouring places will allow you to explore all of Uji’s major attractions.
GENJI MUSEUM: A STORY TOLD
The museum is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays and on weekends. Adults pay ¥500 for admission, and the museum offers information in English.
From 8:30 a.m. until 5:30 p.m., the Byodoin Temple is open to public. Adults must pay ¥600 to enter the temple grounds and an extra ¥300 to enter Phoenix Hall.