Friday, April 11, 2014

Uji City

While visiting Kyoto, I couldn't pass on the opportunity to visit Uji, a city filled with history, literature, and tea.  In addition to a number of significant historical events, it is home to some of the oldest sites in Japan, including Ujigami Shrine (Japan's oldest shrine) and Tsuen (Japan's oldest tea shop).  It is also the setting for the final ten chapters of Genji Monogatari (Tale of Genji).  

For tea enthusiasts, it holds special significance.  In 1191 Zen Master Eisai brought the first tea seeds from China and delivered them to High Priest Myoe who then brought the seedlings to Uji, marking the beginning of tea production in Japan.  In 1211, Eisai also wrote the first book on tea in Japan, Kissa Youjouki (How to Stay Healthy by Drinking Tea).

I could go on at length about how much I love Uji, but I will keep this from developing into a novel by simply sharing a handful of my favorite photos from the trip.

Picturesque Uji River

Statue of Murasaki Shikibu, Author of Genji Monogatari (Tale of Genji)

Uji Bridge (Tsuen is barely visible on the far right)

Phoenix Hall at Byodo-in Temple

Uji Shrine

Ujigami Shrine, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, was built in 1060 and is the oldest shrine in Japan.

Tea is Uji, Uji is Tea.

Teapot decor outside a tea shop

Outdoor seating at a tea room

Restaurant window display advertising Ocha-soba

A rather old business sign featuring a tea jar

Signs near JR Uji Station featuring Genji Monogatari and a tea picker

Post box in the shape of a tea jar at JR Uji Station

One of two towering pieces of art outside JR Uji Station

1 comment:

  1. You make me miss Uji. Loved the tea there.