Thursday, 2 July 2015

Day trip from Kyoto to Uji

A couple of weeks ago my dad and I had a day trip from Kyoto to Uji. I was interested in going to Uji last time I was in Japan to see Uji Byodoin but they were renovating it and I had heard from friends that you couldn't see much. Well I am glad I waited till the restoration was finished, it now looks stunning! It has been restored to it's former glory and I would really recommend visiting.

How to get there
It's really easy to get the train to Uji. We took the Keihan to Chushojima Station and then changed to the Keihan Uji line to get to Uji Station. Or you can get the JR Nara line straight from Kyoto Station to Uji.

Where to go
Uji Byodoin
The main tourist attraction at Uji is Uji Byodoin. Now a temple, it was originally built as a countryside villa (i.e fancy holiday home) for Fujiwara no Michinanga, one of the most powerful politicians at that time. When it was turned into a temple it was given it's most famous feature, the Phoenix Hall which you can see on the back of a 10yen coin.
Open: 8:30 to 17:30 
Admission: 600 yen for gardens and museum additional 300 yen for tour of the Phoenix Hall
Ujigami Shrine
Although we didn't go here I have included it as it is considered to be the oldest shrine in Japan. In 1994 it was named as a World Heritage and it is thought of as Byodoin's guardian shrine.
Open: 9 to 16:30
Admission: free
Uji River
The Ujigawa runs through the centre of the town and is a lovely place to just go for a wander or have a picnic. 

The Tale of Genji Museum
The Tale of Genji, written in the 11th Century, is considered by some to be the world's first novel. Many places in Uji feature in the book and although I didn't go to the museum it is probably a must for anyone interested in Japanese literature and history.
Open: 9 to 17:00
Admission: 500 yen

Mimurotoji Temple
This place was so beautiful! Known as the flower temple,the gardens are planted with various seasonal plants so it looks beautiful all year round. In April there are the cherry blossoms, in May the azalea, hydrangea in June, lotuses in July and momiji in November. When we went the gardens were filled with hydrangea. It was also filled with loads of Japanese tourists but hardly any foreign tourists which is a shame as it may not be as famous as the Byodoin but it really is worth a visit!
Open: 8:30 to 16:30 (16:00 from November to March)
Admission: 500 yen
Uji Jinja Shrine
There is a legend that a rabbit guided a lost deity on his way to Uji so there is a rabbit greeting you as you wash your hands at the entrance to the shrine.
Open: 6 to 18:00
Admission: Free

What to eat and drink
Green tea! Uji is famous for the best quality green tea in the whole of Japan. There are loads of cafes where you can eat green tea flavoured everything. I even saw a vending machine which sold only green tea!

Uji Byodoin

We stopped for some kakigori (shaved ice) to cool down!

Uji river

Me looking a bit tired!

Uji jinja shrine

Mimurotoji Temple

Had to take a picture of these two women matching their clothes to the surroundings!

Green tea or.... green tea?!