The best shops we selectted in Uji City

October 3, 2017

By Yu Sakamoto, Tashi Nisikawa and Kazu Shibao

There are many sightseeing spots in Kyoto, such as Amanohashidate, Uji, Fushimi Inari Shrine, etc. There are so many wonderful sightseeing places that the list of examples is endless. This is a wonderful thing about Kyoto, but some people are confused by too many sightseeing spots. If you could stay longer, you would go to various places, but not everyone can stay for a long time. I would like many people to visit so many places and have lots of good experiences. Therefore, I’d like to tell you how to enjoy sightseeing efficiently even if you stay a short while. This guidance is for Uji, which is also popular with local people. Uji has plenty of places to see the sights. I will introduce a sightseeing itinerary that does not waste time.

First of all, we will introduce the history of Uji city. Uji city is located around the beautiful, clean Uji River, and is graced with many temples and shrines, which is indicative of Uji city’s long history and rich culture. In Uji city there are two UNESCO World Heritage sites. Ujigami Shrine and Byodoin Temple were registered in December 1994. In this area. From the15th century to the 16th century, Uji city was a place of a lot of fighting where various generals fought to control Japan. Since that time, Uji city has spent many peaceful years and Uji city has become a cultural center of Japan. Uji city has many historical sights and famous cultural specialties. Also, Uji Green Tea is the best and most famous Japanese Tea. We will show you some great tea shops in this article, and please enjoy it in traditional tea houses.

At first, I recommend you to take a train as the easiest way to go to Uji. Because most of the spots of Uji that can be enjoyed are in front of the station, if you get to the station you just have fun! However, there are two Uji stations, so some people are confused. One is JR line. The other is the Keihan line. Either way you get off. Therefore, the train to ride depends on where you are. When coming from Kyoto if you are near Kyoto Station, please use JR line. If you are near Kawaramachi please use the Keihan line. Likewise, if you are coming from Osaka, you can take JR or the Keihan line.

  • When you are near Kyoto station
  1. First of all, please buy a ticket to Uji station. (240 yen for one way)
  2. Please look for the time table board for the train in the direction to Nara
  3. Once you get on the train you do not need to change trains and you will arrive at Uji station in about 20 to 30 minutes.
  • When you are near Kawaramachi
  1. First of all, please buy a ticket to Uji Station at Gion Shijo Station. (310 yen for one way)
  2. Please get down to the platform, number 2 and get on the limited express train bound for Yodoyabashi.
  3. From there, we get off after 3 stops (about 10 minutes) in Chushojima and transfer.
  4. Please go to the platform number 3 in Chushojima and get on the Keihan Uji Line and get off after 7 stops (15 minutes) in Uji.

In Uji city, there are a lot of stores. So, when you go there, you can easily become confused. Therefore, we have put together a guide to the best shops in Uji city. When you come out of the Kyohan station, you can see the bridge front of the station. You need to cross the bridge, then you can see Torii gate. Here is the start point on this guide in our article. In this point, there have two ways. Please go left side. Do not go to the Torii gate way.

 

This way.

Torii gate. Not this way.

 

 

Kyo-Food: Uji Kawa Ryokan.

 

At the very beginning, when you first enter the left side way, you can see the shop on your left. In this shop, you can enjoy the river view from the room and you can eat Kyo-food. This shop is a Ryokan (Japanese traditional style hotel), so you can stay there if you like. If you want to eat some native Kyo- food, we suggest you visit this shop.

 

 

 

Obanzai buffet: Rokujyoan.

 

Just nearby Uji Kawa Ryokan, you can find you can find an obanzai store named Rokujyoan. In this shop, you can eat obanzai. Obanzai is the word for home cooking in Kyoto dialect. You can eat different kinds of obazai food, and this shop is buffet style so you can eat many foods. This is a great place to have a lunch time. If you want to eat obanzai, we suggest you visit this shop.

 

 

 

Green Tea Takoyaki and Soft Cream Shop: Tako Q.

 

After Rokujyoan, walk straight to about 1 minute. You can see the shop. In this shop, you can have green tea, takoyaki and soft cream. Green tea takoyaki is a rare food in Japan. If you visit Uji city, you should try to eat green tea takoyaki. It will become a great memory.

 

 

 

Old Green Tea Shop: Akamon-chaya.

 

Have you ever drunk green tea beer before? At the Akamon-chaya, you can have a green tea beer. After Tako Q, walk straight to about 4 minutes. After that, you can see three ways. You need to go left side. Then you can see the shop. In this shop, you can also experience how to make green tea. This shop has an old history. This shop using a great high level green tea, so the price is little expensive. However, you can feel Japanese traditional in this shop. We will recommend drinking green tea beer. It is so sweet and you can feel green tea smells in your mouth after drinking this beer.

 

 

Byodoin Temple.

 

 

Walk straight to Uji bridge shopping street, you will see the entrance of Byodoin temple. This temple is opened at 8:30 a.m. and closed at 5:30 p.m., so do not go too late, otherwise you can’t go in.

Byodoin temple is a Buddhist temple which was built in the late Heian period, 794 to 1185. This temple is registered as a World Heritage site. Also, this temple is very famous for being on the reverse of the 10-yen coin, and the phoenix which you can find behind is on the 10000 yen-note.

In the area of Byodoin temple, there is a huge pond around the temple. There are many carp so you can feel Japan very much. Furthermore, there is a museum named Hosyokan in which you can see the history of Byodoin temple. The entrance fee is 600 yen for adults, 400 yen for junior high school students, 300 yen for elementary school students. In addition, if you would like to go inside of Byodoin temple, you need to pay 300 yen more. You might think it’s little bit expensive, but I’m for sure it’s worth it.

 

Green tea restaurant: Itokyuemon.

Walk along Uji river, you can see the restaurant named Itokyuemon just nearby Keihan Uji station. This restaurant is very famous for maccha, and at this restaurant we ate maccha soba, maccha cheese tart with hoji tea jelly and maccha parfait. You can smell maccha very much from each meal but especially Maccha soba. You think these two don’t match well but once you eat this soba you will change your opinion. Also, the maccha plus cheese tart is quite unique combination as well. Taste of maccha is very rich and creamy. Apparently, a famous TV show reported this maccha cheese tart. Furthermore, this maccha parfait is one of the best maccha parfaits I’ve ever had. The price is 680 yen, so it’s very reasonable.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Did you find any interesting store?? This is our best way to experience Uji. In addition, there are a lot of other interesting stores or spots in Uji. It’s maybe good idea that have a look around while referring our article. Anyway, enjoy your Kyoto trip!

Byodoin

by Akiko Kagawa; Fumiaki Kai

If you are interested in Japan, you may want to find out more about Byodoin. Have you ever looked closely at the Japanese 10 yen coin? Almost all countries have coins that depict something of their life and culture. In Japan, an image of Byodoin is stamped on the 10 yen coin.

This building is famous as a world heritage site, so we would like to introduce here the five main buildings that make up the complex.

Houdo

Houdo is the main building in the center of Byodoin, and is surrounded by a body of water named Aji Pond. It was built at the end of the Heian era (794 – 1185) by Fujiwara Yorimichi (a very famous person in Japan) as the Amida Buddha Hall. The most outstanding feature is how it is situated like a palace, seemingly floating on a magical carpet of water. “Houdo” means phoenix, and the reason for this is that the outline of the building itself resembles a bird resting on water. It appears especially beautiful when its image is reflected on the surface of the surrounding pond. In the main building there are many Amitabha Buddha statues. However, like the ceiling and walls which were painted to a special design, time has managed to fade some of the original glory. In the middle of this building, there is a large temple bell called Bonsyo. This impressive piece was once located south of Houdo, but was moved into the center at some point. You can see it in Byodoin Houshoukan which we will introduce next.

Byodoin Houshoukan

On March 1st, 2001, Byodoin unveiled a new museum named Hoshokan, to house the many precious treasures the temple has to offer. This building was devised especially to make use of optical fiber lighting, and through the balanced combination of nature and space one can best appreciate the artwork on offer.

Special Feature

By employing the largest glass wall in Japan, the designers have created a tremendous feeling of space for the viewer. Also, with the use of computer graphics technology, the visitor can experience a visit to the interior areas of Byodoin which remain off-limits to the public. This virtual tour takes 50 minutes, so if you haven’t run out of time we suggest you try it.

Site space: 30600 square
Building space: 816.04 square
Floor space: 2249.42 square

Jodoin

This building was erected in the late 15th century while Byodoin was under repair, and stands to the north of Houdo. There are some additional treasures here, such as wall pictures and statues of Buddha.

Saisyoin

This building was built in 1654, so it is not as old as the others. Originally intended as housing for priests, it gradually came to be known as Saishoin.

The Area Around Byodoin

This area is considered to be of great historical importance, and there are many temples and shrines in the vicinity of Byodoin.

Ujigami Shrine

This is another designated world heritage site, and around 10 minutes walk from Uji Station. This shrine, built in 901, is neither very famous nor fancy looking but was very important to the people who lived in the area at that time. It was built before Byodoin, because the people constructing Byodoin needed a place to rest and stay. Therefore, this shrine doubled as a hotel and also a place to worship.

Mimuroto Temple

You can get a real feel for the seasons in this temple because Mimuroto Temple has an abundance of flowers, so whenever you go there, you will find flowers blooming according to the season.

There is a very interesting statue located here called “Houshougyu”, which is actually a statue of a cow. The legend goes that long ago, a local man had many problems because he was the owner of very weak cattle. This man paid homage to the Goddess of Mercy in this shrine to change his situation. One day, this Goddess acted on his wishes and made his cattle so strong that he won local competitions with them. Now it is said that if you touch the ball the statue of the cow is biting, you too can gain the luck you need to win. So when you want to beat somebody or win something, it is a good idea to go there.

Jusanjunoto (Pagoda)

In Uji River, there is a sandbank, and this Jusanjunoto, or pagoda, is built on it. When you look at pictures about Japan, you will usually see pagodas of three or five storeys. However, this pagoda has thirteen storeys, making it the one with the most storeys in Japan. Due to flooding, this pagoda has been leveled many times, with the longest time being submerged, 150 years. There are no floods nowadays though, so this tower stands proud for everyone to see.