Uji city is one of the most famous places in Japan when it comes to tea traditions. Mostly famous for Byodoin – the temple on the reverse side of the 10 yen coin – Uji is the perfect place to learn about tea cultivation and tea drinking traditions.
The area around the city is one of the most renowned in all of Japan for growing green tea. From this crop, locals produce a number of fine teas like gyokuro, matcha or sencha.
For many people outside Japan the tradition of consuming tea is hard to understand. In the western world we mainly use tea for treating different health conditions. For this we use different plants and prepare concoctions like parsley tea, lemon balm tea or chamomile tea.
In Japan and especially in regions Uji life revolves around tea. Let’s see what Uji has to offer!
The best way to discover Uji is by visiting Ochagai Meguri festival. During this period the three main shopping streets in Uji are well decorated and welcome the customers with many discounts. Ujibashi-Dori, Byodoin-Omotesando and Uji Genji Town in Uji are the place to visit.
There are 51 different shops which sell many, many different blends of green tea. To make getting around easier, please visit this link.
Getting around should not take a long time as the town is pretty small. Take your time and savor the local cuisine and local green tea. Immerse yourself in the atmosphere and let your soul feel the real Japan.
Many restaurants have menus that revolve around matcha tea. The most popular dishes are soba noodles(photo below) , ice-cream and other sweets that contain matcha.
What Not to Miss in Uji?
If you arrive in Uji at any other time than the festival, it is really indicated to visit Taihoan. This is a public tea house where tourists are offered the chance to take part to an authentic tea ceremony. The price is not too high and the experience will allow you to learn the correct tea ceremony etiquette.
Also, across the city you will find matcha workshops. Here you can learn how to grind matcha powder correctly and prepare traditional matcha tea. Most workshops allow participants to drink the tea that they prepare, which is really cool. Enjoying the fruits of your hard labor is very fulfilling.
If you are really interested in Japanese culture and tea traditions, then Uji is the place to visit.