Uji is a historical city in the green valley of South Kyoto. It is popular for its two World Heritage sites, the Byodoin Temple and the Ujigami shrine. In addition, Uji is famous for the superior quality of Green Tea and the Tale of Genji, the world’s first novel. Uji is easily accessible (see below: useful information), just a 20-minute train trip from Kyoto Station, either via the JR Line or the Keihan Line. I used the Keihan Line from Kyoto. As you exit the Keihan Uji Station, you will find easy signposting that directs you to the surrounding areas.

Uji-bashi Bridge and Uji River

Just south of Keihan Uji Station, you will also see the Uji-bashi Bridge, which goes across the Uji River. This wood-trimmed concrete and steel was first built in 646 but has been rebuilt numerous times since. Walk across it, and along the way, stop and look at the green hills, rushing waters and the red wooden bridges. This ancient town is well-preserved.

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My top picks of Uji are:

  1. Byōdōin Temple (平等院)

The Temple is one of the two World Heritage sites in Uji and its garden is regarded as a Pure Land Paradise.

2.  Uji Tea

Uji is famous for its green tea or its Match Green Tea but green tea was virtually unheard of in Japan when it first arrived from China in the 700s.

3. Omotesando Street (平等院表参道)

The Omotesando Street is about 300-meter stretch approach to Byodoin Temple.

4. Ujigami Shrine and the Uji Shrine (宇治上神社)

The Ujigami Shrine is believed to be constructed as early as 1060 during the Heian period and is the other World Heritage site.

5. Uji’s riverbank

The Riverbank attractions are within pleasant strolling distance.

5. Mampuku-ji Temple (萬福寺)

Mampukuji Temple was the head temple of Zen Obaku sect and was founded in 1661 by Ingen, a Chinese monk.

6. Hashidera Temple

Protector of the Uji Bridge

NB: I did not go to the Tale of Genji Museum, but you can find all the information you need on their official website here.

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