Friday, July 26, 2013

Last day Kyoto: Uji-city + Kyoto shopping.

At Uji
So today's plans were all predetermined since yesterday, I was to go to Uji-city in Kyoto prefecture and also "near" my hosts house.
I woke at 10 a.m. to take a shower and search a couple of things on the internet. I ate my bento that I had bought from the supermarket yesterday and then I was of to the train station.

It took only 10 minutes or less from Momoyama minamiguchi station, my station, to Uji and I was soon walking towards the main sights there. Uji has two UNESCO sights and is also known for its green tea.
Uji has some of the biggest tea plantations in Japan and it is Kyoto's pride when it comes to tea.

Uji is also one of the most oldest cities in Japan and is the sight for the happenings in the famous Tale of Genji, which is a very famous novel written a long time a go.


First up I wanted to see the Byōdō-in temple which is also depicted on the 10 yen coin as well.

It was again a hot and humid day but it did not stop me. I walked 10 minutes from the station to the temple. 

One of the buildings at Byodoin

When I arrived to the temple I noticed a sign informing of the repairs being done to the main temple, also known as the Phoenix hall.
I had read about it online before but of course I had not remembered that it was this particular temple of all the temples in Kyoto region, since there are a LOT of those.

Anyhow I went inside to see the garden around the main temple and the smaller temples at the temple grounds. It was beautiful but it didn't change the fact that the main piece was missing, the phoenix hall.
It is the thing that really crowns the temple ground and is said to be very beautiful.
The restorations will be done in 2014 so if anyone wants to visit it, then that's the year to go.

The ticket price included the museum visit so I went inside the underground facility which was in it self a splendid architectural masterpiece.
The inside was so cool and refreshing, it felt great after the hot walk outside.

There were some articles on display that had once been in the temple or in the vicinity of it, for example the big bronze cast bell that was apparently one of the most famous ones in Japan. It was decorated with the utmost care and is praised for that reason mainly.

The second building in Ujigami
So after the visit I left the temple grounds towards the little shopping street nearby and there I bought myself some, surprise surprise, green tea. I bought some real high quality stuff! And expensive as hell as well. Poor wallet of mine.

From there I proceeded to walk towards the next temple in the vicinity called Ujigami shrine. It is also an UNESCO sight.
Just as my luck has it, one of the main buildings was also being repaired and it was a small shrine as well so kind of a bummer to speak the truth.

I walked after the short round of Ujigami shrine to the "tale of Genji" museum, located only a stones throw away from the shrine.

It was fascinating to hear the story and I got even to see a movie about the few last chapters of the tale, it was pretty sad.
Tale of Genji museum

After a while I decided it was time for me to move on and get myself to Kyoto city and go do some shopping there as well.
Last year I had found a local ceramics shop there, near the Kiyomizudera temple. I had bought a teapot from there which my brother later on had broke by accident.
So I bought myself some teacups and a teapot. They were all hand made or hand painted so I was very pleased with my purchases when I returned to the JR Kyoto station.

From there I went to Starbucks again to get some coffee and to sit down and relax at the store.
I scribbled and scrabbled on some papers and wrote some lyrics to my band and before I knew it an hour had passed.

I then got up and packed my stuff away and left towards my hosts house. She was making today'd dinner so I was waiting forward to it.

After I arrived we ate and I took a shower and went to pack my stuff. I had to take out everything and pack it back to my suitcase in a new order so that I could get everything to fit.

Tomorrow I am of to Tokyo to see the amazing Sumida fireworks display and I will be hosted by my friend Ako who showed me around previously Tokyo and went with me to the amazing music festival where I met the Yakuza.

Thanks for reading!
Cheers
Robert