Crossing point in the Uji-gawa River that links Nara and Kyoto. National treasure Ho-o-do Hall, with a shape resembling a rising phoenix.
Uji is located southeast of Kyoto in the southern part of the prefecture. In ancient times, it flourished as a crossroad that connected Nara and Kyoto over the Uji-gawa River. Along the river stand Byodo-in Temple, inscribed as a World Cultural Heritage Site, and Ujikami-jinja Shrine, known as the oldest shrine structure in Japan.
Byodo-in Temple on the west bank of the Uji-gawa River was once a villa of Fujiwara-no-Michinaga and his son, the powerful Fujiwara-no-Yorimichi, until he turned it into a temple in the mid-11th century. The national treasure Ho-o-do Hall in Byodo-in Temple was built facing the Aji-ike Pond. It is said to have been constructed as a way to realize the paradise that the nobles at that time dreamed about. In the center of the building is the enshrined image of Amida-nyorai Buddha.
On the east bank of the Uji-gawa River is Ujigami-jinja Shrine, as well as Mimuroto-ji Temple, devoted to the wooden statue of Amida-nyorai Buddha. Many other must-see historic sites are located nearby, including Manpuku-ji Temple, which was founded by the Chinese priest Ingen and built with Chinese-style architecture and ritual manners.
Uji is also famous for the production of fine quality tealeaves. Even if you are unfamiliar with the tea ceremony itself, you can casually enjoy it at the Taihou-an public teahouse.
From Tokyo :
[Rail] 2h 15 min to Kyoto Station by JR Tokaido Shinkansen Line (Nozomi), and 17 min from Kyoto to Uji Station by JR Nara Line (Miyakoji rapid service)
* It takes 2h 45 min from Tokyo to Kyoto by Hikari Shikansen.
From Osaka :
[Rail] 28 min to Kyoto Station by JR Tokaido Line (new rapid service).