Tip: Combine a day trip to Uji with a trip to Nara!

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Located less than 30 minutes south of Kyoto, Uji is one of the best day trips to plan during your time in Japan. We visited on a beautiful fall day, as part of a combined day trip with Nara. It was easily one of my favorite places that we visited during our three weeks in Japan, mostly because of my love for matcha!

In Uji you can find matcha anything – ramen, gyoza, ice cream, you name it! It is also a great place to stock up on high quality matcha powder or learn to make your own matcha.

There are two UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Uji: Byodoin Temple and Ujigami-jinja Shrine. Both must-visits on your Uji, Japan itinerary. 

Let’s dive into everything you need to know about taking a day trip from Kyoto to Uji, Japan.

Prepare for your trip to Japan

Here are the most popular things to do in Uij: 

  • Try matcha flavored everything (ramen, gyozas, ice cream)
  • Make your own matcha
  • Buy high-quality matcha for
  • Visit the beautiful Byodo-in Temple (the temple on the 10 yen coin) and museum 
Byodo-in Temple in Uji, Japan

Things to do in Uji, Japan

Eat and drink matcha 

Uji is well known around the world for its high-quality production of matcha tea powdered. You can sit at any of the beautiful tea houses to enjoy a cup of matcha or matcha latte, or indulge in a matcha flavored sweet treat.

Join a matcha making workshop

While visiting Uji you have the chance to grind and sample your own matcha powder at Fukujuen Uji with a matcha making class. 

Fukujuen Uji is a great place to learn about and interact with matcha. We booked the “making matcha with a stone mill” experience. The experience takes about 45 minutes and costs 1,650 yen (~$11 USD). You have the option to drink your matcha plain, with a small sweet served on the side, or over ice cream as an affogato. 

Enjoying matcha in Uji
Enjoying matcha in Uji
Make sure to sign up for a matcha making workshop in Uji, Japan
Make sure to sign up for a matcha making workshop in Uji, Japan

Explore Byodoin Temple 

If Byodoin Temple looks familiar to you, it is because an image of the temple is actually featured on the back of the ten-yen coin. 

Included in your ticket is a museum that I definitely recommend checking it – it was surprisingly our favorite part of the visit. Inside the museum you’ll find tons of paintings and sculptures, as well as the original temple bell and roof pieces from the Phoenix Hall. 

You will need to purchase an additional ticket to enter the Phoenix Hall. 

Byodo-in Temple in Uji, Japan
Byodo-in Temple is on the back of the ten yen coin
Byodo-in Temple is on the back of the ten yen coin

Walk across the famous Uji Bridge

The Uji Bridge is one of Japan’s oldest bridges. Located a 5-10 minute walk from the Uji Station, it a must-visit while in Uji. It is rumored to have been built by a monk in 646. Regardless of the validity of the rumor, it is ingrained in Japanese culture and history.

Best places to buy matcha in Uji, Japan

Uji is one of the best places in the world to buy high-quality matcha. It can feel a bit overwhelming, as there is such a wide range of available products. I drink matcha lattes every single day, and found that even the cheapest quality matcha powder in Uji is better quality than what I buy in the US!

Here are a few of my favorite stores in Uji to buy matcha powder:

  • Tsujiri
  • Masuda Chaho
  • Fukujuen Uji
  • Nakamura

I also bought a ton of matcha powder from Ippodo at both their Kyoto and Tokyo.

How to get to Uji from Kyoto

Uji is located right between Kyoto and Nara, so it is super easy to either visit Uji as a half-day trip, or combined with Nara as a full day trip from Kyoto.

The easiest way to reach Uji from Kyoto is by train in 35 to 40 minutes, by either the JR or Keihan Line. The train lines are equally easy to navigate but arrive into different train stations in Uji. The city itself is small, so it should only be a short walk regardless of where you go.

Google Maps is a reliable source for train routes and prices. Prices range between 240 yen ($1.62 USD) and 610 yen ($4.12 USD) from Kyoto to Uji, making Uji a super affordable day trip.

Visiting Japan? Here are some other articles to check out:

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