Experiencing the South Kyoto Area

Matcha in Uji,
sake in Fushimi and horse racing at Kyoto Racecourse

A place where Heian nobles kept villas, Uji is the home to the World Heritage Sites of Ujigami Shrine and Byodo-in Temple, and fun things to do include grinding matcha green tea powder with select Uji tea leaves. In the afternoon, try your luck at Kyoto Racecourse, and whether you win or lose, make sure to partake in some of the sake from Fushimi, known for its expert brewing.

Matcha in Uji, sake in Fushimi and horse racing at Kyoto Racecourse

Travel Schedule

  • 9:30

Arrive at Uji Station on the Keihan Electric Railway Uji Line.

When you leave the ticket gate, you will see the swift flow of the Uji River, and on Uji-bashi Bridge, the minaret-shaped giboshi decorations and the unique lookout known as san no ma, elegant features that remain from times long past.

  • Arrive at Uji Station on the Keihan Electric Railway Uji Line.
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10 minutes on foot

  • 09:45

Byodo-in Temple

Phoenix Hall, one structure at the World Heritage Site Byodo-in Temple so inspiring it is on the 10-yen coin and one of its phoenixes is on the 10,000-yen note.
Built at the end of the tenth century by Fujiwara no Michinaga as a villa to demonstrate the immeasurable power he had, Byodo-in Temple was converted into a temple in 1052, and a temple hall enshrining the image of the Amida Buddha was constructed to recreate the Pure Land in this world. The fires of war have found their way to the temple many times throughout the centuries, and only the Amida hall has miraculously survived, preserving the Buddhist architecture, images, paintings and gardens from the eleventh century when Heian nobility culture flourished. The graceful Amida hall can be found on the 10-yen coin, and one of the phoenixes on the roof of the hall is incorporated into the design on the 10,000-yen note. When you visit, see for yourself how close the originals are to the money.

  • Byodo-in Temple
Address:
116 Uji Renge, Uji, Kyoto Prefecture
Hours:
Grounds: 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Museum: 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Admission ends 15 minutes before closing time.
Admission:
Adults: 600 yen,
Junior high and high school students: 400 yen,
Elementary school students: 300 yen,
Entrance to the Phoenix Hall: 300 yen
Telephone No.:
+81-(0)774-21-2861
URL:
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10 minutes on foot

  • 10:45

Ujigami Shrine

Ujigami Shrine, built so as to face Byodo-in Temple across the Uji River, has a modest exterior, but it is registered as a World Heritage Site as the oldest shrine in Japan still standing.

  • Ujigami Shrine
Address:
59 Uji Yamada, Uji, Kyoto Prefecture
Hours:
9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Admission:
Entrance to the temple grounds is free
Telephone No.:
+81-(0)774-21-4634
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5 minutes on foot

  • 11:00

The Tale of Genji Museum

Learn about Heian noble life at the Tale of Genji Museum.
This is the only museum, even in Japan, dedicated to the Tale of Genji. Written at the start of the eleventh century in the Heian period, the Tale of Genji is a novel by a woman we know as Murasaki Shikibu. Depicting the history of love affairs of Hikaru Genji, the tale is a “bestseller” that has been read and loved for a thousand years. The second half of the tale is set mostly in villas in Uji where the nobles enjoy activities such as boating and viewing the autumn leaves. The museum’s restored exhibits include an oxcart used by members of the Heian nobility, much like those that appear in the tale and a multi-layered kimono with elegant color schemes. Visitors can also use English, Chinese and Korean audio guidance machine.

  • The Tale of Genji Museum
Address:
45-26 Uji Higashinai, Uji, Kyoto Prefecture
Hours:
9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (last entrance at 4:30)
Closed:
Mondays (Tuesday if Monday is a holiday) and year ends and New Year holidays
Admission:
Adults: 500 yen,
Elementary and junior high school students: 250 yen
URL:
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5 minutes on foot

  • 12:00

Lunch at Shubaku

Shubaku stone-grinds the finest buckwheat from all over Japan into flour to create delicious soba noodles.

  • Lunch at Shubaku
  • Lunch at Shubaku
Address:
13-1 Uji Higashinai, Uji, Kyoto Prefecture
Hours:
11:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Price:
Expect to spend around 1,000 yen per person.
Closed:
Mondays (Tuesday if Monday is a holiday)
Telephone No.:
+81-(0)774-22-5470
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10 minutes on foot

  • 13:00

Experience grinding matcha green tea powder at Kanbayashi Sannyu

(Reservations required)
A traditional seller of Uji green tea. The first floor is the tea shop, offering a variety of Uji teas. The second floor is the Uji Tea Reference Library, and the third is the Sankyu An Tea Room. If you make reservations beforehand, you can experience grinding matcha yourself (864 yen). You can try your hand at grinding Uji tea leaves into powder, whisk the powder into tea and then enjoy your creation with sweets.

  • Experience grinding matcha green tea powder at Kanbayashi Sannyu
  • Experience grinding matcha green tea powder at Kanbayashi Sannyu
Address:
27 Uji Renge, Uji, Kyoto Prefecture
Hours:
9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Telephone No.:
+81-(0)774-21-2636 (for reservations)
URL:
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1 minute on foot

  • 14:15

Snack at Nakamura Tokichi at Byodo-in Temple

In 2006, the Nakamura family took over management of Kikuya Manpeki-ro, formerly a traditional ryokan inn which gained fame among writers and artists for its excellent Uji-style cuisine after being named by Rai Sanyo. Its exterior has been preserved, so magnificent that Hirobumi Ito, the first prime minister of Japan, named it "Geikakuro," meaning tower that invites cranes. After interior remodeling, it reopened in 2006 as Nakamura Tokichi at Byodo-in Temple. From the window seats, visitors can overlook the Uji River. Among their most popular products is Ujikin soft serve, ice cream to go flavored with Uji matcha and topped with azuki beans and mochi.

  • Snack at Nakamura Tokichi at Byodo-in Temple
  • Snack at Nakamura Tokichi at Byodo-in Temple
Address:
5-1 Uji Renge, Uji, Kyoto Prefecture
Hours:
Weekdays: 10:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
(last order: 4:30 p.m.)
Weekends and holidays: 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
(last order: 4:30 p.m.)
Closed:
Tuesdays and Wednesdays
Telephone No.:
+81-(0)774-22-9500
URL:
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10 minutes on foot

  • 14:45

Gifts and souvenirs shopping at Itohkyuemon

  • Gifts and souvenirs shopping at Itohkyuemon
  • Gifts and souvenirs shopping at Itohkyuemon
Address:
19-3 Todoaramaki, Uji, Kyoto Prefecture
Hours:
10:00 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. (last order: 6:00 p.m.)
Closed:
January 1
Telephone No.:
+81-(0)774-23-3955
URL:
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Take the Keihan Uji Line to Chushojima Station (around 14 minutes), transfer to the Keihan Main Line and get off at Yodo Station.

  • 15:30
  • 16:45

Kyoto Racecourse

Horseracing is a form of gambling that is legal in Japan. One of 10 racecourses managed by the Japan Racing Association, Kyoto Racecourse holds weekend races 44 days a year on Saturdays and Sundays. In addition to the excitement of the race, spending time on the extensive lawn is also recommended. For virtual betting, see
http://japanracing.jp/en/racing/go_racing/pdf/how_to_bet_en.pdf

  • Keihan Racecourse
  • Keihan Racecourse
Address:
32 Yoshijima Watashiba-jima-cho, Fushimi-ku, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture
Hours:
9:00 a.m. to 5 p.m. on race days
Admission:
200 yen
Telephone No.:
+81-(0)75-631-3131
URL:
http://japanracing.jp/en/

Whether you win or lose, Fushimi is a great place to take a stroll and find great sake. Fushimi is well-known for its breweries. Try letting your nose lead the way. Getting there: Take the Keihan Electric Railway from Yodo Station to Chushojima Station.

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About 4 minutes by train

  • 17:30

Dinner at Torisei

Torisei is a restaurant housed in a building that used to house Shinsei, a sake brewery. At Torisei, enjoy great yakitori and great Fushimi sake. Due to its popularity, it is recommended that you make reservations ahead of time or arrive early. Sake is a wonderful way to wind up a tour of southern Kyoto. Kampai to great sake!

  • Dinner at Torisei
Address:
186 Kami Aburakake-cho Fushimi-ku, Kyoto
Hours:
Tuesday to Saturday: 11:30 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. (last order: 10:30),
Sundays and holidays: 11:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.
Closed:
December 31 to January 3 and Mondays (except when falling on a holiday or in December)
Price:
Yakitori: starting at 140 yen per skewer
Telephone No.:
+81-(0)75-622-5533
URL:

Other places worth visiting

  • Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine

    Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine

    The head Inari shrine of some 30,000 smaller shrines throughout Japan dedicated to Inari Okami, who is responsible for bountiful grain harvests. During the traditional New Year's shrine visiting season, it gets the most pilgrims of any shrines and temples in the Kinki region. Mount Inari has more than five thousand bright scarlet-orange torii gates lined in a row, a wondrous sight. As the fox is the divine messenger at Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine, fox statues can be found on both sides of the large two-story gate, and look for ema votive plaques featuring foxes as well. On the shrine grounds is a stone dragon that divines whether people will achieve their heart's desire. Come to Fushimi Inari Taisha and try your luck!

    Address:
    68 Fukakusa Yabu no Uchi-cho, Fushimi-ku, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture
    Admission:
    Entrance to the shrine grounds is free.
    Telephone No.:
    +81-(0)75-641-7331
    URL:
  • The Gekkeikan Okura Sake Museum

    The Gekkeikan Okura Sake Museum

    This is a commemorative museum to major sake maker, Gekkeikan. A brewery built about a century ago was remodeled to house exhibits showing the history of sake, the sake brewing process and the implements once used to make sake. Enjoy sake tasting and pick up some to take home as well. Visitors will receive a complimentary bottle (180 milliliters) of junmai sake (underage visitors will receive a postcard).

    Address:
    247-banchi, Minamihama-cho, Fushimi-ku, Kyoto Getting there: Five-minute walk from Chushojima Station of the Keihan Electric Railway.
    Houre:
    9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
    Closed:
    Obon (mid-August) and during the new year season
    Admission:
    Adults: 300 yen, Junior high and high school students: 100 yen
    Telephone No.:
    +81-(0)75-623-2056
    URL:

Area Map