Date: 31st March 2016
Uji is just 25 minutes away from Kyoto on train and offers a number of temples, Uji Bridge, and its famous green tea.
For some reasons, I had a bad headache on that day and had to skip few temples on my itinerary. Nevertheless, I can surely say Uji is worth a visit if you are in Kyoto. You can also travel here from Nara in less than 30 minutes.
Started off the day early and headed from Kyoto station to Obaku Station, 21 minutes. From there it was a short walk to Obakusan Mampukuji. I arrived early in the morning when it opens at 9 a.m. and presence of other tourists was not felt.
The entrance fee costs 500 yen. Obakusan Mampukuji is the head temple of the Obaku sect of Zen Buddhism in Japan, the Obaku sect being one of the three sects of Zen Buddhism. It was founded by a Chinese monk – Ingen, which plays a part in how the temple looks – a touch of China’s Ming Dynasty architecture.
You will stumble upon a pond soon after, called Houjou Ike.
Next, you will reach the Sanmon.
The layout of the ground (when viewed from above), is supposed to resemble a dragon! The diamond-shaped stones as seen in the picture below is supposed to represent the dragon’s scales.
After wandering around and offering prayers, I headed to Mimurotoji on foot. While Mimurotoji can be accessed by train on the Keihan line (23 minutes?), I decided to walk. It was a 35 minutes walk through housing areas, a tiring one indeed.
The thought running through my head when presented with the stairs going up the temple = @.@
It would have been fine if I had taken the train.
Mimurotoji’s entrance fee is 500 yen as well, and is definitely a sight, especially for garden and flower lovers. The sakura was not in full bloom yet when I visited this temple, but it was still beautiful.
Uji River and The Tale of Genji Museum
Next was the Uji River. It was a 15 minutes walk away from Mimurotoji. Before reaching, I stopped by the Tale of Genji Museum due to the worsening headache I was having. It costs 500 yen to enter and English descriptions were minimal. Nevertheless the exhibits were good and there was even a theater playing, well, Tale of Genji. All I could think about when I was in the museum was how much of a womanizer Genji is. Yes, and remembering Minamoto-kun Monogatari.
Had a dessert made of Uji green tea before leaving the museum, which was wonderful.
Then the Uji river was just 5 minutes away.
Omotesando and Byodoin
Walking to the other side of the bridge, I find myself at Omotesando, a street of shops offering food, desserts, and souvenirs. The smell of green tea was strong, you will smell it while walking on the entire street. Walking till the end of the streets, I find myself at the entrance of the highlight of the day, Byodoin Temple.
The temple, which is featured at the back of the 10 yen coin was extremely crowded. Entrance fee is 600 yen and another additional 300 yen to enter the Phoenix Hall.
Taking a picture of the Phoenix Hall without having someone in the picture is extremely difficult as it was really really crowded.
There is also a treasure house with good English description, so be sure not to miss that.
As my headache was getting worse, I headed back to Omotesando and bought some souvenirs before heading back to the guesthouse in Kyoto.
Thinking back, it was definitely due to staying up late the day before, doing work. Yes, work, while on vacation.
For more info on Uji travel, visit these sites: