A Small and Unique Green Tea Town: Uji

Uji (宇治) is a small town between two ancient city of Kyoto and Nara. It is known for its finest green tea, heritage sites and Tale of Genji (the world first novel).

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It’s 12 o’clock ……. 12 mins more for our train to arrive

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From JR Inari station, we continue with the JR Nara line to Uji which takes around 20 minutes to reach.

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Tourist information Center

Once we reached JR Uji station, we went in the tourist information center to have a peek. The staff in the center is very friendly. She gave us map and explained the direction to Byodoin Temple. She also alerted us that there is Sakura festival happening near the red bridge.

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Gorgeous cherry blossom in Uji
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Nakamura Tokichi Honten
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Still long queue…….sigh!!!

We wished to have lunch or tea time at Nakamura Tokichi Honten but we gave up because the queue is still long. We’re very hungry from the hiking in the morning. We wandered around the street heading to Byodoin Temple and find this affordable Izakaya style restaurant.

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Cocoro
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Affordable menu
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Green tea buckwheat noodle set (1,080 yen/RM43.20)

Because we’re in Uji, everything here is connected to green tea. I ordered green tea buckwheat noodle set. It live up to expectation……it taste very Good!!! I don’t think I can find something similar in Malaysia. I’m sure I will miss the taste here.

After satisfying lunch, we head to Byodoin Temple which appear on the surface of 10 yen coin.

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Tale of genji novelist
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Uji-bashi bridge

Byodoin Temple (平等院)

Entrance fee : ¥600/ RM24 (Additional ¥300 for tour inside the Phoenix Hall)

Operation hours: 8.00 am to 5.30 pm

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Entrance to Byodoin Temple
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Front look of Byodoin Temple (Phoneix Hall) …… similar to the 10 yen
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Side view of Byodoin Temple with cherry blossom

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Our normal ticket is eligible to visit the Treasure House. It is a museum exhibits the most valuable artifacts and the history of the temple. No photography is allowed.

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Some blooming cherry blossom down this stairs

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Elegant cherry blossom
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Pretty little red flower

Upon existing Byodoin Temple, we are all curious and excited about the sakura festival mentioned by the Tourist Information lady. So we decided to follow the road heading to the bridge.

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Stop by to buy Dango …… a Japanese dumpling and sweet made of rice flour (¥100/ RM4 per stick)

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The sakura festival is all about viewing the cherry blossom. Many stalls set up to sell mainly food and other merchandises. It’s not the right time yet to do ‘Hanami’ here as the sakura haven’t blossom. But I guess the environment is already heated up as there are actually many people here.

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Huge size dog!!!!
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Kawaii mascot….I think it is posing for me…..hehe
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It will look gorgeous when fully bloom

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Characters in the Tale of Genji

Uji Shrine (宇治神社)

Admission : Free

Operation hours: 6.00 am to 6.00 pm

Uji-Jinja Shrine is a shrine facing Uji river. It is also known as the lower shrine as there is another upper shrine, Ujigami Shrine which is located just behind Uji-Jinja Shrine. These two shrines were once considered as one but later separated during Meiji Period. (Source: japan-guide.com)

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Uji Shrine entrance
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Hand washing with rabbit shape fountain
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Uji Shrine

Ujigami Shrine (宇治上神社)

Admission : Free

Operation hours: 9.00 am to 4.30 pm

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Ujigami Jinja Entrance

From the above pictures, I just realised we met the same two old ladies at Uji Shrine and Ujigami Shrine. Ujigami Shrine is believed to be the first shrine built in Japan.  It has also been named as one of the Unesco World Heritage site.

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After visiting the two shrines, we walked toward The Tale of Genji Museum direction. We did not visit the museum as it’s already near closing time. Instead we pass by the neighborhood and found beautiful scenery. Overall our half day walking route starts from JR Uji station and go round and finally return to JR Uji station again.

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Our journey did not stop here. After Uji we still have late evening stroll at Kaege Incline, Nanzenji Temple and dinner at Kyoto Ramen Koji.

NEXT POST: A late evening stroll at Kaege Incline and Nanzenji Temple.

 

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