Monday, March 26, 2012

Uji and Byoudouin

The kids are on end-of-year break (they change grades starting on April 6 and they both passed!) so we are doing some sightseeing.  Over the weekend we took the Keihan line down to Uji, which is just southeast of Kyoto. We walked along the river along an old tourist path towards Byoudouin temple. Uji is famous for its tea, and there are many shops selling tea, tea candies, tea accessories, tea mochi, etc.  We stopped for lunch; M has started eating more Japanese food, and here is proof!

The temple has one of the oldest structures we have seen in Japan. The main hall (Phoenix hall) was built in 1053 and is still standing. It can be seen on the 10 yen coin. Here is a page about it:ōdō-in. Someone took our photo; proof all four of us were together.
it really is an amazing structure, and it is set in a beautiful garden landscape. The cherry blossoms are just starting to bloom; it is going to be beautiful here in a few weeks!

It was VERY cold; we weren't expecting it to be as cold as it was.  On the way back we stopped in one tea store and it has been in the same family for 14 generations. They have a museum upstairs. They were the royal tea suppliers to Kyoto apparently. The current owner was very friendly and showed us all around his shop. There were several grinders making matcha, and lots of tea for sale. We bought a matcha whisk, sencha (a type of green tea) and another type of roasted tea that Wendy likes.  After the teashop, we bought a few types of candies and cookies and "ginger juice" which is a very strong ginger honey that you make tea out of.  Then we hopped back on the train and went home.  Very beautiful!

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