The small town of Uji is famous for its tea, which is considered to be the best in Japan. However, 1000 years ago, this pretty area was surrounded by gentle rolling hills and a quiet rushing river. Some 20 km from Kyoto is a road to Nara, where princes and nobles chose to build their country villas. Come visit Uji to see and feel the old Japanese scenery, with shrines, temples, and traditional houses!
We meet at Keihan-uji station (8:30)
Ujigami Shrine (“shrine” is called “jinnjya” in Japanese) is a Shinto shrine in the city of Uji. In 1994, it was registered as a UNESCO World Heritage site. It is about a 20 minutes walk from Keihan-uji station, and is located in a residential street.
(NOTE: UJI-gami shrine is under construction until the end of this year (2014). You will be able to enter, but you won’t be able to see some areas)
We move to the next destination through Wasarabi Street, which is a stone-paved road. You can enjoy a quiet walk through a lovely, rural area.
② Zen at Kosho-horinji Temple (10:30)
In this activity, you will be able to experience Zen practices at koshoji.
This temple held the first meditation-in-Zen-Buddhism exercise hall for the Dogen Zenji .
You can learn about Koshoji from a Japanese movie called [ZEN].
You can place yourself in the sacred air of Dogen Zenji.
(NOTE: Each event stops during the Year's End and New Year holidays (12/30～1/3) and the following periods.( 5/16, 8/12～14, 9/26～29, 10/first Sunday,12/1～4) Please confirm beforehand.
③ Lunch time(12:30)
④ Make your own dishes at Asahiyaki Pottery.(13:30)
Asahiyaki Pottery has been in Uji for over 400 years. Nestling between rice fields and near to the scenic Uji River, it is possible for you to experience making your own teacup or bowl. Beginners at pottery do not need to worry, as a full explanation will be given. After firing your finished work, it will be sent to you (within 1-2 months). At the pottery museum, the works of successive generations of potters are on show!
You will be able to choose from the following 2 courses.
1.Electric potter wheel experience .
This is a trial lesson using the electric potter's wheel.
(The finish is entrusted to you by the staff.)
2.Picture charge account experience.
You will be able to draw a picture on the pottery which the staff has produced , including plates, a teacups, or bowls.
We go through Jusanjunotou at Ukishima.
The tower was elected for fishery prohibition and is a dedication of a new bridge over Uji River. It is said that ancient fishing implements were buried under the tower.
⑤Byodo - in Temple(15:30)
Byodo-in temple has been also registered as a UNESCO World Heritage site. It was constructed by Fujiwara no Yorimichi, in 1052 during the glory period of the Fujiwara family.
Phoenix Hall (Ho-o-do), an Amida Buddha hall, was built in the following year, and is a National Treasure. As you may know, Ho-o-do hall is displayed on the Japanese 10 yen coin.
The Hall has undergone construction and was completed this April, making the hall even more beautiful!
We move to the next destination through Byodo-in omote sando Street. There are many old kinds of tea shops here. You can smell tea just walking there. There are many types of tea-production, and Japanese typical goods, so you can buy souvenirs here!
⑥Making green-tea and taking a break(16:30)
We will go to Mitsuboshien-Kanbayashisannyu-Honten, which is a long-established store that started in the Tensho Era. Along with the long history and tradition that it has inherited, the store is known as the home place of the master of the tea ceremony for the Shogunate.
There, you will be able to experience the making of powdered green tea (Maccha). The staff will provide you with detailed and simple instructions so that first-timers can enjoy preparing tea on their own. After that, you can go to Uji Tea Reference Library in the same building.
⑦Watch Japanese traditional fishing , ”Ukai” , from a boat.(17:30,18:00)
Cormorant fishing (Ukai) is a traditional fishing method in Japan and China.(“cormorant” is called “u” in Japanese)
To control the birds, the fishermen tie a snare near the base of the bird's throat. This prevents the birds from swallowing larger fish, which are held in their throat, but the birds can swallow smaller fish. When a cormorant has caught a fish in its throat, the fisherman brings the bird back to the boat and has the bird spit the fish up. This looks a little cruel for the cormorants, but you will be impressed how strong the ties are between the fishermen and the cormorants!
(NOTE;You can watch this tour from another boat, but this service is only available during 6/15～9/21).
The starting time changes depending on the season.
Tour reception 18:00
Outgoing vessel 19:00
The end of Ukai fishing about 20:00
Tour reception 17:30
Outgoing vessel 18:30
The end of Ukai fishing about 19:30
At the time of stormy weather and rising waters due to the Amagase Dam discharge ,the Ukai fishing tour may be cancelled. Please confirm tour availability beforehand.
Come visit Uji and experience the Japanese culture through different aspects! From tea making, watching the cormorants, and making your own pottery!