Gourmet Tour of Uji

February 5, 2018

by Kensei Iizuka, Yuta Kobayashi, Takanori Tsuhako

Uji is a city located in the south part of Kyoto. There are many famous historical spots there, such as Byodoin Temple and Ujigami Shrine. That is why if you are interested in Japanese history, you can enjoy a visit to Uji. Moreover, you can also feel nature in Uji because this city has a good river running through it and it is surrounded by mountains. In addition, Uji is an attractive place for people who like eating delicious food. Uji is famous for Uji-cha, which is a kind of green tea famously known as one of the big three green teas in Japan. It has been produced since the Kamakura era (1192) and it was a very expensive tea in those days. Because of that, there are a lot of nice shops where you can drink Uji-cha or eat sweets that are made from Uji-cha.

Getting There by Train

 

There are two train stations in Uji: the JR Uji station and the Keihan Uji station. The JR Uji station is the most accessible station for sightseeing in the center of Uji. It is suitable for people who arrive at JR Kyoto station by Shinkansen from Tokyo or Osaka. On the other hand, the Keihan Uji station doesn’t connect to the JR Kyoto station directly, so it is good way to get from Kawaramachi after doing sightseeing at Kiyomizu temple or the Heian shrine. It takes about fifteen minutes to get to Uji from Kyoto station, so it really is a short trip.

Main Sightseeing Spots

Ujihashi

Ujihashi is a bridge spanning the Uji river, which is a Class A river running from Lake Biwa in Shiga Prefecture in the northeast. Its color looks like emerald blue and makes us calm. It was built in 646, making it the oldest bridge in Japan. Its length is 155m and width is 25m.

Koshou Temple

A shady path surrounded by lively trees marks the way to the entrance of Koshou temple. It is named Koto Saka and has very moderate incline to the temple. In autumn, all the leaves turn to a vivid red, and its beauty attracts visitors every year. Unfortunately, very few leaves were red when we visited the shrine because it was still the beginning of November. We recommend you that you go there at the end of November. You will most certainly be stunned by its landscape. It is about a 15-minute walk from JR Uji station, crossing over Ujihashi.

Ujigami shrine

 

A short walk up from Kousho temple brings you to Ujigami shrine. This shrine is one of the popular sightseeing spots for visitors to Uji. It was built at the end of the Heian era (From Wikipedia). The main shrine (in the above picture) is said to be the oldest shrine in Japan. It is also part of the Koto Kyoto-no Bunkazai, which is registered as a World Heritage site by UNESCO.

Byodoin-Hououdo

 

There are no Japanese people who haven’t yet seen this famous structure. This is Byodoin-Hououdo, which is a kind of temple. The elegant and dignified main temple with two gold phoenixes on top appears as a reflection in the small pond in front. This always fascinates all visitors in every season. Also, this main temple can be found on the Japanese 10 yen coin. That’s why it is super famous in Japan and so recognizable to Japanese people. You must visit here when you go to Uji. It is a 15-minute walk from JR Uji station.

Delicious Food and Refreshments

Uji Cha (Green Tea)


Uji is known as the one of tea production areas in Japan. The tea produced around the area is a kind of green tea, called Uji cha. Its taste depends on how much time it is brewed and at which temperature it is made. For example, you can enjoy the real taste of green tea made with hot water. In contrast, green tea made with cold water tastes so sweet, and in this way results in reduced levels of caffeine. Green tea has been loved by all Japanese for a long time due to its good effect on our health, such as activating blood flow, preventing diabetes, and so on. The green tea in the picture is not the usual green tea. It includes plenty of sugar so that even people who don’t like the taste of green tea can still enjoy drinking it. It tastes so sweet and is easy for everybody – including foreign visitors – to enjoy.

 

Ice Cream


Even in the extreme cold of winter, Japanese people are willing to buy ice cream, not to mention in the heat of summer. In Uji, you can eat locally made ice cream. It has two different flavors: macha (Green tea) or hojicha (Roasted green tea). You can often see a lot of macha flavored ice cream shops in the center of Kyoto. However, as for hojicha, it is a rare one for visitors from another country. It is a refreshing flavor compared with that of macha. Make sure you compare each taste and feel it by yourself because it is difficult to explain. Each costs approximately 300 yen. There are a many stores selling this type of ice cream, so you can find it easily.

 

 

Cha-dango


Cha-dango are rice dumplings flavored with green tea. This is a traditional snack in Kyoto, especially in Uji. It looks so cute. The flavor spreads throughout your mouth as soon as you put it into your mouth and chew it. Its flavor and texture depends on each store. So you can enjoy a wide range of Cha-dango in Uji. One stick with three rice dumplings costs anywhere from 50 to 80 yen. It is very cheap and can satisfy your hunger. Just be careful not to eat too much. You don’t want to spoil your lunch!

 

 

 

 

Model Plan Route

 

After arriving at Uji station, your main way of getting around would be walking because Uji is so compact city that you can walk. Except for Koshoji Temple and Ujigami Shrine, there is not so much slope.

First, let’s go to Uji Bridge from JR Uji station. It takes about five minutes on foot. Crossing the bridge with seeing nice view. After crossed the bridge, please turn right. It leads to nice path, especially in fall, autumn leaves are beautiful. On your left side, you can see Koshoji Temple and Ujigami Shrine. The slope is a little hard but please visit there. Especially, Ujigami Shrine is a world heritage site, so you should visit there. After visiting temple and shrine, let’s across another bridge called Asagiri Bridge. This bridge is smaller than Uji Bridge, but you can walk more comfortable than Uji Bridge.

Lastly, let’s go to the main tourist attraction in Uji, called Byodoin Temple. This temple is a model of 10 yen coin. You can take out your 10 yen coin and compare them. Around Byodoin Temple, there are a lot of nice restaurants, sweets shops, and souvenir shops. You can visit there and enjoy famous food in Uji.

~Plan~

Kyoto Station → (20 min.) JR Uji Station

Kawaramachi Station → (40 min.) Keihan Uji Station

↓ Walk (5 min.)

Uji-hashi (Uji Bridge)

↓ Walk (10 min.)

Koshoji Temple → Ujigami Shrine

↓ Walk (10 min.)

Byodoin-Hououdo

The best shops we selectted in Uji City

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!

Kyoto Animation culture

By Keisuke Sakamoto, Tsukasa Sumikawa and Kinjyou Tetsuya

 

              Kyoto Animation Culture

Have you ever seen Japanese animation?  The quality of Japanese animation is very high and often admired by people in other countries. What do you think about animation? Perhaps Tokyo is mosy well known for animation culture. Especially, Akihabara is the most famous for Japanese animation. Not only Tokyo, but also Kyoto. is famous for animation culture. We will introduce attraction of Kyoto animation.

 

1 History of the Kyoto Animation Company

Kyoto Animation Company, Ltd. was founded in 1981. Its office is located in Minatoku-Tokyo. This company opend an animation school. Kyoto animation is not it Anime Studio. A husband and wife team of Mr. and Mrs. Yata founded the Kyoto Anime Studio, but only Mr.Yata manages it at the present time. in the 90’s, Kyoto animation designed a package of games. The most successful and famous character which was made by Kyoto Animation is Noroino-One-Piece. this work is made only by the staff of the Kyoto Animation office. In 2005, Kyoto Animation became a brand. In 2006, animation of Suzumiya Haruhi was broadcast. At the same time this animation became the most popular animation in Japan. In 2009, an animated move made K-ON! famous. Because, of his popularity, the musical instrument which a character used in the animated movie got a sales boost and a book series was published.

 

2Kyoto Animation Production

Kyoto Animation made various animation series

1.Noroino-One-Piece

In 1990 Noroino-One-Piece was introduced. This story is horror and the animation consisted of a short story. This animated story was the first product which was made by Kyoto Animation.

2.AIR

In 2005 made AIR. This animation is a love story and it was a trilogy. AIR was originally a computer game. It was made into an anime by Kyoto Animation. There are 12 episodes in all.

3.Suzumiya Haruhi-No-Yuutsu

In 2006, Kyoto Animation created the popular character, Suzumiya Haruhi. This animation is an SF story and Kyoto Animation is very famous since Kyoto Animation’s careful work is widely recognized. Yuutsu means depression in English. This anime is separated into 2-parts. There are 28 episodes of Suzumiya Haruhi-no-yuutsu in all.

4.Raki☆Suta

In 2007, Kyoto Animation created Raki☆Suta. This animation focuses on daily life. Raki☆Suta helped establish otaku culture. There are 24 episodes.

5.CLANNAD

The next Kyoto Animation series is CLANNAD. This animation is impressive. CLANNNAD was originally a computer game like AIR. This anime is separated into 2-parts. There are a total of 44 episodes.

6.K-ON!

In 2009, Kyoto Animation made K-ON!. This animation story about band club. This animation economic effect is 150 million. K-ON! caused a social phenomenon. This animation most sold in Kyoto Animation Company. K-ON! made young people entering band club in Japan. also, K-ON! became a movie. K-ON! is extremely popular with a lot of people even now. This anime is separated into 2-parts. There are 41 episodes in all.

7.Hyouka

In 2012, Kyoto Animation made Hyouka. This animation is based Japanese literature. Hyouka was originally a novel. This anime is separated into 2-parts. There are 22 episodes in all.

8.Free!

In 2003, Kyoto Animation made Free!. This animation story is about a water polo club. all Free!’s characters are handsome. So, Free!’s characters are very popular with young girls who likes animation. This anime became a movies. Free!’s main character is a man who never before appeared in work of Kyoto Animation. This anime is separated into 2-parts. There are 25 episodes in all.

Theseabove animations are representative of Japanese animation.

9.Koe-No-Katachi

This animation movie is going to screen in 2006, in September. This animation movie story is about a girl who was bullied because of her hearing disorder by a malicious boy. This animation wants to tell people about how it is difficult for people to communicate with a handicapped person. The story’s setting is Gifu Prefecture. Koe-No-Katachi is originally a comic. The original piece won the best comic in 2015. Because of this the movie will very interesting. Also, I recommend for people to see this animation movie. There were 7volumes in the original piece.

 

3 Location

Kyoto Animation Corporation’s head office is located in Kowata, Uji City, Kyoto-Prefecture, Japan. A lot of fans of this anime visit this place. Many of them take a photo in front of here with themselves. They have two studios to produce animation. The first one is in the Fushimi area, Kyoto, Kyoto. The second one is in close to the head office in Uji. And under the second studio, there is Kyo-ani shop. Many anime products are sold here. The branch office is located in Akasaka, Minato Ward, Tokyo. A subsidiary is in Chuo Ward, Osaka and named Animation Do. To go to the head office or shop, a person must get on the Keihan Rail-way Uji line and Get off at Kowata Station.

 

4 Jobs at Kyoto Animation

1.Animator

The designer not only paints a picture but is also an entertainer.

Video designer specializes in making a fair copy finely.

2.Digital Painting

Kyoto Animation uses software named RETAS STUDIO Paintman to color or fix pictures.

3.Scene Maker

It is very important for this worker to use poster colors freely. Recently, scene designers must paint a picture, by scanning materials

 

5 Production System

There is no outsourcing production company. All animation, fine arts, photography and production are done by an in-house system. However, the digital effects are outsourced under the close supervision of the staff.

 

6 Recommendation Anime

We’d like to recommend the best three stories of Kyoto Animation.

Third Place, AIR

The reason that we choose it is that it is a moving story and the town scenery is very beautiful. The opening song’s name is Tori-No-Uta. This song is very majestic. The character who we recommend is Misuzu KAMIO because she is very cute.

Second Place, K-ON!

The reason that we choose it as second runner-up is we think that it has funny comedy and a character who makes an impression. The appearance of the character is very pretty. We want to enter a band club when we watch K-ON!. The character which we recommend is Azusa NAKANO. She plays the guitar and she is very serious.

First Place, Hyouka

The reason that we choose it as No.1 is that it is the most mysterious animation of Kyoto Animation.   Hyoka teach us about old Japanese literature. Another reason is that this animation combines comedy and mystery. Our recommended character is Titanda Eru. She likes reading a book. She has a spirit of inquiry to know about people.

 

 

 

 

 

 

O templo budista Mimuroto-ji

O templo budista Mimuroto-ji fica na cidade de Uji. Este templo foi fundado pelo imperador Konin, há cerca de 1200 anos. Aqui é possível contemplar uma estátua e várias representações gráficas de Buda, datadas da era do clã Fujiwara. Considerado Património Cultural do Japão, muitas pessoas vêm a este templo em peregrinação da deusa budista da misericórdia

 

 

Há as imagem budista e as pinturade de Buda que feito em a era Fujiwara. Isso é o património cultural importante.Muita gente vêm até aqui domo a terra da peregrinaçao da deusa budista da misericórdia Bodhisattva. O jardim deste templo é constituído por pedras que imitam montanhas e rios.

 

 

 

Na entrada do Mimuroto-ji existe a estátua de uma vaca. Na sua boca, há uma bola que os visitantes deste local sagrado tocam, para que as suas preces sejam atendidas.

 

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Mimuroto-ji também se encontra associado ao Conto de Genji (Genji Monogatari), uma das narrativas amorosas mais antigas da humanidade. Os visitantes e peregrinos que vêm a este templo de Uji, podem comprar a “fortuna do amor”, de Genji.

 

 

Finalmente, Mimuroto-ji também é conhecido pela variedade das flores que aqui se encontram. Todas as quatro estações se apresentam no seu esplendor com as flores típicas da primavera, verão, outono e inverno. É mesmo conhecido como o “templo das flores”. De abril at ao fim de maioes”2mo o “erono, om as flores tse encontram.), uma das narrativas amorosas mais antigas da humanidade.

é ao fim de maio, mais de vinte mil azáleas, único em toda a região de Kansai. Em junho, cinquenta espécies diferentes e mais de dez mil hortênsias. E em fins de junho até começos de agosto, mais de cem de espécies de duzentos e cinquenta flores de lótus. Em novembro, este templo é célebre pelas cores outonais.Há quem diga que este local é um paraíso na terra.

 

 

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HORÁRIO 8:30 – 16:30 (até às 16:00 entre novembro e março)

ENTRADA: 500 ienes

 

ACESSO: apanhar o autocarro / ônibus nº43 que corre entre a estação JR de Uji e o templo Mimuroto-ji. A viagem demora cerca de vinte minutos.

The Tale of Genji Museum-Uji city

The Tale of Genji Museum –Uji city

Akiho Kamijo & Shiho Iwasaki

About the Tale of Genji

The Tale of Genji was written by Murasaki Shikibu in the early 11th century (mid Heian era), and consists of 54 chapters (jou). More than 300 characters appear in it, in a story spanning 70 years. Within the work is contained about 800 shu of a 31-syllable form of classical Japanese poetry. This book is sometimes spoken of as the “classic of classics” and one of the greatest works in the history of Japanese literature.The tale itself is divided into three parts:

Part 1 : Hikaru Genji’s birth and his life of splendor and achievement.

Part 2 : Hikaru Genji’s life of anguish and ultimately his death.

Part 3 : The life of Kaoru,the child of Hikaru Genji, fillled with stories of love and tragedy.

 

 The author – Murasaki Shikibu

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Murasaki Shikibu

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The author, Murasaki Shikibu, was born around 973 (Ten-en 1) to a middle-class aristocrat Fujiwara no Tametoki. Although we don’t know her real name, she was called Murasaki Shikibu in direct relation to the character of Murasaki no Ue, from The Tale of Genji. In 998 (Chotoku 4), she married Fujiwara no Nobutaka and they had a daughter named Daini no Sanmi. Unfortunately, three years after Daini’s birth her husband died, and it was about this time she began to write The Tale of Genji. Around 1005 (Kanko 2), she became a lady-in-waiting to Fujiwara no Michinaga’s daughter, Shoshi, who was the wife of Emperor Ichijo. In Murasaki Shikibu’s diary, it was written that The Tale of Genji was actually a special gift to Shoshi upon the birth of her son, the Imperial Prince, Atsuhira.

 

The Tale of Genji Museum -Uji City

The tale of Genji Museum is divided into two main areas: The Exhibition Zone and the Information Zone. Here are some of the main features :

Image exhibition of the Tale of Genji and a dynastic picture scroll.

A high-definition video exhibit introduces a fascinating summary of the Tale of Genji and features a model of Rokujoin, the home of Hikaru Genji.

An ox-drawn carriage and period dress exhibit.

There is a restored ox-drawn carriage here, plus a Junihitoe (the ceremonial attire of a Japanese court lady of the period) which symbolizes the level of the circle the characters in the Tale of Genji moved in.

An exhibit showcasing the dynastic culture and many functions of the court.

Here we can view the dresses and articles of furniture of the shinden dukuri style in an architectural representation of a nobleman’s residence in the Heian period. There are also examples of the games and annual events held each season in the Heian period court.

Kakehashi or Connecting Bridge

In this exhibit we can experience the journey from the capital of Heian to Uji that is illustrated in the Tale of Genji.

“Uji jujo” story theater

Here, there is a replica of a famous scene from the work Uji jujo featuring a curtain and a life-size set.

The scenes and fragrance of the Tale of Genji

The fragrances that Heian nobility were particularly fond of are introduced in this exhibit. Many of which are featured in the tale of Genji.

Movie room

We can enjoy another two movies here of the tragic love stories, “Ukifune” and “Hashihime”.

 

 The Role of Uji in the Tale of Genji

Murasaki Shikibu and the ten Uji Chapters

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The Uji Connection

The Ten Uji Chapters start with the chapter Hashi-Hime (Maiden of the Bridge) and conclude with Yume no Ukihashi (Floating Bridge of Dreams).This “bridge” in the story serves to move the setting from the capital to Uji, and also changes the focus of the story from Hikaru Genji to his son, Kaoru, as well as his grandson, Niou no Miya.

Heian aristocrats knew Uji well, and Murasaki Shikibu decided to use this setting to make them feel part of the story. Kyoto at this time was full of very important people, but Uji was a haven where the aristocrats could relax and be themselves. Murasaki Shikibu very skillfully told the stories of the emotional dramas played out between the men and women of Uji, a place that had a lively, yet also dark side

Uji in The Tale of Genji

In the Ten Uji Chapters of The Tale of Genji, Murasaki Shikibu writes about the villa of Hikaru genji’s son, Yugiri, as being on the west side of the Uji River. Actually, this was where Fujiwara no Michinaga, a very influential person of the time, also had a grand home. On the bank where Uji Shrine and Ujigami Shrine are located, she writes of the mountain villa of Hachi no Miya. Fujiwara no Michinaga’s villa on the west bank was later made into Byodo-in Hodo by his son Yorimichi, and still stands today as a prime example of buddhist architectural splendor. However, Ujigami Shrine, where Uji-no-waki-iratsuko, the son of Emperor Ojin is enshrined, is far more modest, and is much more representative of Hachi-no-Miya, who lived alone and lonely.

 

Address: 45-26 Uji-Higashiuchi, Uji City, Kyoto 611-0021

Hours: 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (Admission until 4:30 p.m.)

Closed: Mondays (or the following day if Monday is a national holiday) and Dec. 28 to Jan. 3

Transport links:

http://www.uji-genji.jp/

 

Nakamura Tokichi—Experiencing the Green Teas of Uji

By Miki Hamada and Emiri Iwagami

 

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A long time ago, Yoshimitsu, the Third Shogun of the Ashikaga Shogunate ordered a tea plantation be made in the hills around Uji, a town southwest of Kyoto. It is know for Byodoin Temple and the Uji River. Ever since, Uji has become well known for its fine green teas. The surrounding environs are especially good for growing tea because of the morning mists that come off the Uji River. Today, Uji is a first-class Japanese tea producing area, and so naturally there are many teashops in the city. Nakamura Tokichi is one of them.The Nakamura family, the founders of Nakamura Tokichi, has been entirely devoted to tea for the past 160 years. Nowadays, their long-established shop has become popular with all kinds of people. In addition to its regular clientele, new customers include young women and Japanese and foreign tourists. Why is Nakamura Tokichi so popular today and loved by so many?

 

Recently the shop embarked on a new project to revitalize its traditions. In 2001 they made café space to sell sweets. There you can try Japanese tea, powdered green tea (macha) and sweets that are made with powdered green tea. Among their sweets are macha chocolates, macha soft ice cream, and jellies. Nama-cha jelly, along with green tea and teabags, are their most popular products. The shop sells various traditional teas as well, both bitter and sweet. Information about each product has been translated into English and is included in the packaging. The opinions of customers are included as well. Seasonal products are also sold. In the spring, the first tea of the season comes in. This is called shin-cha in Japan. Nakamura Tokichi also makes shincha jelly from fresh new leaves. In summer, cold-brewed green tea is sold; in winter, green tea of medium quality is available. Customers can choose from many different tea products all year long.

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There is a beautiful garden in back that has a 200-year-old pine tree. Because its shape resembles that of a boat, it is called Horai-funa-matsu —“the pine in the shape of the boat to Mt. Horai.” Mt. Horai is a mythical mountain where Chinese immortals lived. The tree is 6meters high and the trunk is 1.3 meters in diameter. It is said that it was planted by the second generation of the Nakamura family. The garden has been regularly kept from the second generation. From café terrace you can see this beautiful pine. It received a famous tree award from Uji city.

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In 2009 Nakamura Tokichi was selected as an official “Cultural Landscape,” a UNESCO designation that places value on the mosaic of natural environment, climate and a human livelihood that has been maintained over generations. This designation was created at the UNESCO World Heritage Convention. Nakamura Tokichi was chosen because its head office building is representative of a tea merchant’s house from the Meiji Period. The Nakamura Fujiyoshi Byodoin shop is an historical building that was once the restaurant-inn Kikuya in the Edo period.

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Tea Ceremony Experience

  1. Make macha powder by grinding tea on the millstone.
  2. Enter the special tearoom built in the Genroku era (300 years ago).

You will be served macha jelly.

3. Drink koi-cha by turns. Koi-cha is a thick and strong macha made from high-class green tea powder

4. Drink usu-cha by turns. Usu-cha is a light and weak macha.

Place: tea room Zuishou-an

Time: 45~60 minutes

Expense: 2,160 yen per person

Application: To participate, you have to make reservations.

Tel: 0774-22-7800 / E-mail: shop@tokichi.jp

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Cafe

Business hours:

Weekdays : store 10:00~17:30

Café 11:00~17:30 (last Order17:00)

Holidays:   store 10:00~18:00

Café 11:00~18:00 (last Order17:15)

 

Menu

Macha jelly        Usu-cha                  Kitsune cha soba

yぴうじゅ

 

Uji’s Morihan Tea

by Mochizuki Ayana and Yuki Kurisu

Morihan (森半) is the name of a well-established tea company in Uji, a small town just south of Kyoto. Uji is famous for the tea grown in the surrounding hills and so naturally many tea companies and tea shops are located here. Morihan offers many different tea products that, according to its motto, “are safe and can be trusted.” They sell powdered green tea (macha), other varieties of regular teas, coffee and also other macha products that are used in many foods and implements that are connected to  the tea ceremony. Morihan has always tried to maintain their company tradition of producing high-quality tea ever since it was established in 1836. And it always consider show its tea is suited to Japanese tea culture and life style. Morihan also has a tea shop in Uji that serves teas and sweets and tea souvenirs.

We talked with Yoko Morishita who is has worked at the company for many years. She taught us about Morihan’s history, how tea is produced, how it is sorted, and how teas taste differently from each other. She is a knowledgeable person and was exceedingly kind to us. She also works as a Chado (tea ceremony) instructor, teaching students how to make and serve green tea, and how to conduct a tea ceremony in a small teahouse or anywhere. We asked Ms Morishita a few questions.

 

Tell us about Morihan…

 

“By adhering to a high standard that is from our tea cultural inheritance and a very long history, Morihan reflects that spirit, and has been developing a wide range of products that utilize powdered green tea in new ways. They make green tea tea bags, and sweets that contain green tea like dorayaki (sweet-bean paste between cakes—popular TV anime character Doraemon’s favorite food), daifuku (mochi with bean paste), ice cream and cake. Our products all have high quality and have great reputations both domestically and internationally.”

 

Morihan tea shop. The character on the shop curtain is "cha" and means tea.

 

 

What does the company’s name, Morihan, name mean and what is its history?

“The name comes from Morishita Hannzaemon, who was the first president of our tea company. The first part of the last name, MORI (森), is combined with the first part of the first name, HAN(). This tea company was established in Tenpo era (1830-1844). At that time, they grew tea in nearby fields and sold tea leaves in Uji. Right now Morihan has been merged with the Hankyu department group and another tea company named Matsumoto.”

 

What is rewarding about your work.

 

“These days, the tea world has been split in many parts. Some companies produce high-grade tea for use in expensive tea pots. Others produce cheap teas, instant teas, and  teas that are sold in plastic bottles. Still others focus on tea products that are used in baking, and other kinds of foodstuffs. Now great effort is being put into this aspect of the tea business. But I like being an instructor of  tea. To make macha familiar to a lot of people with my work is very worthwhile.”

 

Does Morihan export to the foreign countries?

 

“They export almost all of their macha powder to foreign countries these days. They export to the USA, Taiwan, Hong Kong and also some countries in Europe too. The USA uses it in cafes; in Taiwan and Hong Kong they sell it in big supermarkets. Many countries in Europe want to drink green tea or eat Japanese foods because they think it is healthy. These foreign companies contact a Japanese food buyer to obtain our green tea powder.”

 

Thank you for talking with us.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MAP SHOWING MORIHAN’S TEA SHOP

京都府宇治市小倉町久保78番地

 

Buy products from MORIHAN

Una fabbrica di tè giapponese a Uji

Ikeda Ami, Kusano Yurika

Uji, vicino a Kyoto, è un luogo adatto alla produzione del tè, perché vi cala la foschia dall’omonimo fiume. È stato il primo luogo di produzione del tè giapponese, e Uji-cha, il tè di Uji, è ancor oggi famosissimo in tutto il paese.

Ci sono varie specie di tè, per esempio: ryokucha (tè verde giapponese), uloncha (il tè oolong cinese), kocha (tè nero). I vari tipi di tè sono prodotti dalla foglia di un sempreverde della famiglia della camelia. Il tè nero è ottenuto facendo fermentare completamente la foglia raccolta, il tè Ulon è fermentato a metà, invece il tè verde è prodotto senza fermentazione. Ci sono 10 specie di ryokucha, e la gamma dei sapori si può ampliare tramite un’ulteriore tostatura o o l’aggiunta di riso arrostito. Per esempio hojicha, genmaicha ecc.

Il maccha è tè verde in polvere, usato anche nella famosa cerimonia del tè. Ci sono tanti stabilimenti che producono maccha, ma ve ne vogliamo presentare uno il cui maccha ha un elevata quantità di nutrienti, grazie al particolare processo di lavorazione. Il tè è tenuto al riparo dai raggi del sole per più di 20 giorni, è asciugato senza essere strofinato, e dopo aver cotto a vapore i germogli si macina solo la parte interna della foglia con una macina di pietra. Dopo la macinatura è pronto per essere bevuto.

Il maccha è efficace contro l’ipertensione, per prevenire l’invecchiamento, il diabete, il cancro, l’influenza, le carie, come bevanda dietetica e per tante altre cose.

 

Vari tipi di tè

Vari tipi di tè

Storia dello stabilimento

Verso la seconda metà del 17° secolo Kyujiro Koyama, un pioniere della coltivazione del tè verde, cominciò a coltivare e produrre il tè a Uji. Questa è l’origine della ditta Marukyu Koyama. Con la quarta genezione di proprietari cominciò la vendita del tè, e con l’ottava il mercato fu esteso a tutto il Giappone.

Il motto della ditta è: nella produzione del tè la cosa più importante è la qualità. Marukyu Koyama ha ottenuto molti premi, in riconoscimento della cura dedicata al tè giapponese durante tutto il processo produttivo, dalla coltivazione alla vendita.

Foto di premi e riconoscimenti per Marukyu Koyama

Premi e riconoscimenti per Marukyu Koyama

Introduzione del tè in Giappone

Il tè fu introdotto in Giappone dalla Cina. Secondo i documenti antichi, nell’epoca Nara (8° secolo) si faceva già la cerimonia del tè, e nella successiva epoca Heian i monaci buddisti Kukai (Kobo Daishi, 774-835) e Saicho (Dengyo Daishi, 767-822) hanno introdotto nuovi tipi di tè e nuovi modi di berlo dalla Cina. Si pensa che la coltura dell’albero del tè in Giappone risalga a questo periodo.

Foto di Marukyu Koyama

Marukyu Koyama

Visita alla fabbrica:

Una visita a Marukyu Koyama comprende:

1. Proiezione di video sulla produzione del té dalla coltivazione alla lavorazione, e i dolci fatti con il maccha.

2. Visita allo stabilimento di produzione del maccha con spiegazione del processo.

3. Visita al laboratorio dove si controlla la qualità del prodotto finito.

4. Visita alla stanza tradizionale del tè con esperienza della cerimonia del tè.

5. Preparazione e degustazione del maccha, con assaggio di dolci tradizionali confezionati appositamente per la cerimonia del tè.

Foto di maccha e dolci tradizionali

Maccha e dolci tradizionali

A Marukyu Koyama si può anche comprare una confezione regalo di maccha e mangiare il gelato di maccha e hojicha.

È buonissimo!

Foto di gelati di maccha e ojicha

Gelati di maccha e ojicha

Foto dello spaccio

Lo spaccio

Accesso

La stazione più vicina è Mukaijima della linea Kintetsu. Ci vogliono circa 25 minuti dalla stazione di Kyoto. Da Mukaijima ci vogliono 5 minuti in taxi.

Tempo necessario per vistate la fabbrica: circa 90 minuti. Si può fare una visita più breve, specificandolo al momento della prenotazione.

Orario: dal lunedì al sabato, mattina 10-12, pomeriggio 13-16. Poiché a volte il sabato è chiuso, conviene informarsi prima.

Numero di persone in una visita: 2-40 persone.

Prezzo: la visita  è gratis.

Nel prenotare la visita bisogna specificare: il giorno e l’ora della visita; nome e cognome di un rappresentante del gruppo; indirizzo; numero di telefono.

Per prenotare è necessario inviare i dati a uno dei recapiti seguenti entro una settimana prima del giorno desiderato.

Telefono: 0774-20-0909

Fax: 0774-28-2288

Indirizzo: Marukyu Koyamaen Makishima Kojo, Terauchi 86, Kokuracho, Uji 611-0042, Giappone

E-mail accessibile dal sito web di Marukyu Koyama:

Http://www.marukyu-koyamaen.co.jp/top.html

Le spiegazioni sono solo in giapponese, per cui conviene portare un interprete.

The Tale of Genji

by Hideaki Kato

Introduction

The Tale of Genji is a historical literary work. It was written in the middle of the Heian era in Japan (around 800 to 1400 AD) and is based in the city of Kyoto at that time. It was written over 1000 years ago so it is very old. It has been very popular for a long time.

Murasaki Shikibu

The Tale of Genji was written by Murasaki Shikibu who had talent as a writer and poet .Those talents were recognized by a number of people and she served the Emperor’s daughter. The Tale of Genji was written at that time. In those days, Heian nationalism was very influential. It was the Japanese original noble culture, and kana script in this way developed. Kana is the original and formal Japanese script and derives from the kanji script which was originally from China and is also used in Korea too. Therefore, kana script is used in The Tale of Genji.

The Story

The tale of Genji is an epic romance story, comprised of 54 volumes. Those volumes are separated from part 1 to part 3. In addition, this story is written in Japanese style, intermixed with waka poetry. There are many characters in this story and most of them are nobles of the Heian era. This story is written about their loves. So it has been written realistic of the aristocracy culture. The novel’s hero is Hikaru Genji who is a son of the emperor. He was very handsome and was in love with many girls in his lifetime. But he often had affairs with many girls and he has been explained the pain time. Uji is the main stage of the second half of the story and the next hero is the son of Hikaru Genji .Uji is very important in this story. There is a museum and there are sightseeing spots related to the Tale of Genji in Uji. We can realize the history there.

Popularity

The Tale of Genji is called the greatest masterpiece in the history of Japanese literature. However, not all people could read it when it was first written and it was mainly nobles who read it in the Middle Ages. Therefore other nations were not able to obtain it either. It was around the Edo era when print technology developed in Japan and the common people came to be able to have it in their hand. Many people were able to read it because Akiko Yosano translated it into the contemporary Japanese language.

Now The Tale of Genji is not only a literary work but represented in comics and movies. As a result, it is known by both young and old people. It was in about 1882 that The Tale of Genji was first translated into English and The Tale of Genji has now been translated into many foreign languages. Therefore, it is a work that is loved not only in Japan but around the world.

Tsujiri

by Yumi Morimoto; Naomi Hamada

Fundada em 1860, Tsujiri é uma loja especializada em chá japonês de Uji (Quioto).

Em 1978 foi inaugurado o Charyo Tsujiri, um pequeno estabelecimento onde todos podem provar e descobrir os sabores do tradicional chá nipônico.

Quer a loja Tsujiri quer o salão de chá Charyo Tsujiri, situados no famoso distrito de Gion, atraem não só muitos turistas, mas também os próprios habitantes de Quioto.

De entre os muitos sabores à escolha no cardápio de Charyo Tsujiri, podemos aconselhar o seu famoso sorvete. Este é muito procurado, especialmente pelas mulheres, pois contém em si o paladar inconfundível do chá japonês.

Contudo, uma das especialidades deste estabelecimento é o sorvete com pão-de-ló de macha (o chá verde japonês).

Vamos provar o paladar tradicional do Japão com seu famoso parfait de Charyo Tsujiri, em Gion!