How about Uji city for a day trip in Kansai? - Waku Waku

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How about Uji city for a day trip in Kansai?

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How about Uji city for a day trip in Kansai?

If you live in Kansai, why not take a day trip to Uji? Enjoy Wisteria flower, take a hike in nature and experience Japanese tea ceremony.

Eren Gudny

Eren Gudny

Published on 09 Apr, 12:00

Located between Kyoto and Nara, Uji is a small city worth visiting for a few reasons. From Osaka Station it takes just over an hour to get there, making it the perfect destination for a day or half-day trip.

Uji is not super famous and is often overlooked in favour of bigger cities in the region, but if there's one time of year you're likely to hear it mentioned by the locals, it's spring.

Wisteria in Byodoin Temple

At the end of April and early May, you can go there to see the Wisteria in full bloom. Wisteria trees are aggressive plants, and despite their heavy vines will grow around trees and other obstacles in order to show off their beautiful flowers.

I was just a little late to see the full bloom
I was just a little late to see the full bloom

You can see Wisteria at the Buddhist temple Byodoin, which is less than ten minutes walking from Uji Station. The entry fee is 600 yen and it includes entry to Byodoin Museum, which is located inside the temple grounds. For an additional 300 yen, you can go inside the temple's Phoenix Hall, which houses some of the temple's most valuable artifacts.

Byodoin Temple
Byodoin Temple

Outside the temple, there's a little shopping street, Omotesando, that you won't want to miss. Uji is famous for its high-quality tea, and you'll see plenty of matcha-themed food and snacks. For example, you can find matcha-flavoured dango or even matcha-themed soba noodles!

How about Uji city for a day trip in Kansai?

You can also try tea-themed activities in Uji

At Taihoan, you can participate in a traditional tea ceremony. At the workshop Fukujuen Ujicha Kobo you can take a matcha-grinding class and learn to make your own tea. And at Takumi no Yakata, you can take a class in tea brewing, hosted by professional tea instructors.

How about Uji city for a day trip in Kansai?

Next on your sightseeing list is Ujigami Shrine

At first glance, it might not look like anything special, but the shrine is believed by some to be the oldest standing shrine in Japan. It's estimated to originate from the year 1060 or earlier. The shrine is considered a Unesco World Heritage Site along with other shrines and temples in Kyoto and Nara. You can stop by to pray and get some souvenirs.

On your way, you'll likely see Uji River, which you can walk across. Along the bank, people may be fishing or catching bugs. It's a cool little hub. You can also get on a river cruise boat or try cormorant fishing for around 2000 yen (in the summer only).

The view overlooking Uji.
The view overlooking Uji.

Lastly, you might want to head up to Daikichiyama's observation deck

The mountain is lined with a path, so it's not a tough hike by any means, although you'll want to bring plenty of water on a hot day. My recommendation is to bring a packed lunch (or buy one in Omotesando) and eat it at the top. The trek doesn't take more than 30 minutes and once you're at the top you can look out at Uji (it doesn't feel so small anymore, huh).

Waterlilies almost in bloom
Waterlilies almost in bloom

If you're bored after all this, there are still more things to see. You can check out the Tale of Genji Museum, which references the classic Japanese novel. Visit the flower gardens at Mimuroto Temple, where you can see cherry blossoms, hydrangea, azalea, and lotus flowers (as well as some fantastic architecture). At Kosho-ji Temple you can see some gorgeous autumn colours.

Despite Uji's relatively small size, you won't run out of things to do there!

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