Continued from 10 Must-See Places in Uji, Kyoto for Tea Lovers – Part 1
4. Uji Byodo-in Omotesando
If you’ve visited Tokyo you’re probably familiar with Omotesando Station and Aoyama-dori. Uji has its own Omotensando, and if you’re a tea lover of sorts, this is a prime location for all sorts of teas and tea-related souvenirs.
Near Byodo-in Temple, this avenue is covered in smaller shops that help take your tea fantasies to another level. Wamucha Café, for example, has been nationally presented on Japanese TV for items such as Map Match Tofu and fried rice with a tea infusion. Nearby at Ito-Kyuemon, visitors can pick up alcohol — yes, mixed with matcha — or purchase Hojicha cheesecake, matcha pudding, matcha chocolate, or even matcha cookies. The tea is simply endless: Pretty awesome, I know.
Visiting in the summer? Yes, Japan is humid to say the least; however, many shops — including Kyoto Rokujouan — offer various tea and tea-related ice cream flavors to keep you fueled for Uji’s famous bridge.
An all-in-one experience can be beneficial for tea lovers. One such location that will allow you to do that is Mitsuboshien-Kanbayashisannyu-Honten. Yes, it’s a mouthful, but this particular store contains a tea room, a tea-making ceremony for 1100 yen, sweets made out of tea, and the purchase of Kyoto-ken-based tea. This store was once known as the master of tea ceremony for the Japanese Shogunate and provides a deep history of its experience in relation to tea. Be sure to pick up some snacks on the way out and perhaps some store-specific tea that they do not sell elsewhere.
6. Ujigami Shrine
UNESCO has designated several sites around Uji and Kyoto — generally as the “Historical Monuments of ancient Kyoto” — with Ujigami Shrine being the oldest of both those historical monuments as well as the oldest original Shinto shrine in Japan. Originally dedicated to Emperor Ojin who reigned from 270-310 AD, the shrine is also famous for its architectural design: The nagare-zukuri, which is defined by its asymmetrical roof. If you’re lucky enough to visit the shrine on May 5th, you may also be able to witness the Ujigami Shrine Festival.
7. Mimurotoji Temple
A particularly unique temple, the Mimuotoji Temple is known for its age — established approximately 200 years ago — and its beautiful surroundings. The Temple grounds are lush with garden varieties, and — in the early spring — famous cherry blossoms for anyone wishing to experience hanami with a side of history.
The Temple grounds also include a three-staged pagoda, a statue of Ugajin, and an Amida Buddha Hall. The Ugajin is supposed to bring fortune and good luck to those who pat it on the head. As is common with temples though, leave your wishes and enjoy the spiritual side of Japan.
To be concluded in 10 Must-See Places in Uji, Kyoto for Tea Lovers – Part 3