Uji's Romance: Byodo-in, Tea and the Legacy of Genji's Timeless Tales

Uji's Romance: Byodo-in, Tea and the Legacy of Genji's Timeless Tales


All year round



Meeting Place

JR Uji Station


Adult (13+)19,800 JPY
Child (6-12)13,000JPY

Uji's Romance: Byodo-in, Tea and the Legacy of Genji's Timeless Tales

Kyoto is undoubtedly one of the most famous cities in Japan. Unlike the urban and modern atmosphere of Tokyo and Osaka, Kyoto is an iconic image of traditional Japan for most tourists. Not only being symbolic, Kyoto is one of the oldest municipalities in Japan, the capital of Japan and the residence of the Emperor from 794 to 1868, is home to countless temples, shrines, and other historically significant structures that still stand today. With so much to explore and experience, it is worth spending a few days travelling here in Kyoto.

This tour will focus on the southern part of the prefecture. Uji, located within the picturesque landscape of Kyoto, is a city steeped in both history and natural beauty. Renowned as the birthplace of Japanese green tea, Uji’s tea culture is deeply ingrained in its identity, with verdant tea fields stretching across its countryside. Among its many cultural treasures, the Ujigami Shrine stands out as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, embodying centuries of spiritual significance. Likewise, the iconic Byodo-in Temple, with its striking Phoenix Hall, serves as a testament to Uji’s rich historical legacy. Beyond its historical landmarks, Uji offers a tranquil escape along its riverside paths, where visitors can immerse themselves in the serenity of nature. Whether exploring its tea fields, marvelling at its ancient shrines, or simply strolling along its scenic pathways, Uji invites travellers to discover the essence of Japanese tradition and beauty.

Uji’s charm extends to its literary significance, notably as the setting for “The Tale of Genji.” Authored by Lady Murasaki Shikibu, this ancient masterpiece draws inspiration from Uji’s serene landscapes and elegant architecture, making the city a must-visit for both history buffs and literature enthusiasts alike. Come walk with us and uncover the essence of Uji’s charm together.


  • This is a one-day tour that visits carefully selected famous sightseeing spots in southern Kyoto. We will guide you around with explanations.
  • We will not only show you around the city, but also tell you about its history and culture. We will do our best to help you understand this city more deeply.
  • It is also a tour where you can learn about and actually experience the traditions of Japanese art that have been passed down since ancient times.


Our journey begins at 09:30 at JR Uji Station. The first destination on this adventure through Uji is the iconic Byōdō-in Temple. Situated amidst the tranquil beauty of Uji’s landscape, this historic temple stands as a testament to Japan’s rich cultural heritage. Dating back to the Heian period, Byōdō-in is renowned for its stunning architecture, with the majestic Phoenix Hall serving as its centrepiece. As we explore its grounds, we are enveloped in a sense of reverence and awe, surrounded by lush gardens, serene ponds, and intricate carvings that speak to centuries of spiritual devotion. Byōdō-in offers not just a glimpse into the past, but a profound connection to the enduring traditions and values that continue to shape Japanese society today.

You can enjoy a leisurely lunch along one of Uji’s lively shopping streets after our visit to Byōdō-in. Renowned for its abundance of charming tea shops and local eateries, the bustling thoroughfare invites you to indulge in the fragrant aromas of freshly brewed teas and delectable treats emanating from the numerous quaint establishments lining the street.

Following your satisfying lunch, we will head to the Tea Museum, where you can explore Uji’s rich tea culture and history, from traditional cultivation methods to the art of tea brewing. It is an opportunity to deepen your understanding and appreciation of this cherished Japanese tradition.

After your visit to the Tea Museum, immerse yourself in a memorable matcha experience. Learn the art of preparing and enjoying matcha, a traditional Japanese green tea renowned for its rich flavour and health benefits. Guided by skilled instructors, you can take part in a traditional tea ceremony, where each step, from grinding the tea leaves to whisking the frothy brew, is steeped in centuries-old ritual and reverence. This immersive experience offers a unique opportunity to connect with Japan’s tea culture on a deeper level, leaving you with a newfound appreciation for the beauty and tranquillity of matcha.

After your matcha experience, our journey continues with a visit to Ujigami Shrine, renowned as one of Japan’s oldest Shinto shrines. As you explore its serene grounds, adorned with centuries-old structures and stone lanterns, you will feel immersed in the rich tapestry of Japanese spirituality and tradition. Take a moment to appreciate the shrine’s elegant architecture, steeped in myth and legend, and feel the profound sense of history that permeates this sacred site.

Concluding our journey, we will visit the Museum of the Tale of Genji, where you will delve into the captivating world of one of Japan’s most iconic literary masterpieces. Explore the life and times of the characters from “The Tale of Genji,” penned by Lady Murasaki Shikibu in the early 11th century, as you wander through the museum’s exhibits. From intricately crafted artefacts to immersive displays depicting scenes from the novel, you will gain a deeper understanding of the cultural significance and enduring legacy of this timeless work of literature. Reflect on the themes of love, beauty, and courtly life as you wander through the museum’s halls, and discover the lasting impact of “The Tale of Genji” on Japanese art, literature, and society. It is a fitting conclusion to our journey through Uji, leaving you with a newfound appreciation for the rich cultural heritage of Japan.

We will return to JR Uji Station together to say goodbye. However, if you would like to spend the rest of your day in the city centre, you are more than welcome. We will do our best to help you have a wonderful time in Uji.


09:30Meet us at the JR Uji Station to start your journey.
The meeting place is immediately after exiting the Gate of the station.
10:00Our first stop is Byōdō-in. It is a Buddhist temple built in the city in the late Heian period and is a joint temple of the Pure Land and Tendai sects.
11:00It is your lunch time! If you finish before the meeting time, you can also do some shopping.
12:30Our afternoon starts with learning more about tea and the history of tea making.
13:00Following the visit to the Tea Museum, our next stop will be the immersive tea experience. We will try making our own matcha using a stone mill.
14:15The next destination for the matcha experience is Ujigami Shrine. This shrine was built as the guardian of the nearby Byodo-in Temple, and is adjacent to Uji Shrine. In 1994, it was registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site as one of the "Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto."
15:00The final destination is the Tale of Genji Museum. The world of the classic Japanese novel "The Tale of Genji" from the early 11th century is displayed through projected images, models, and exhibits.
16:15We will return to JR Uji Station to end the tour. However, if you would like to spend the rest of your day in the city centre, please let us know at any time.


JR Uji Station @ 09:30

You can see us immediately after exiting the JR Uji Station. We are waiting in front of the directory. We will be holding up a sign that says “Snow Monkey Resort.”


  • The times listed in the itinerary are for reference only and the actual tour may vary depending on actual conditions such as weather and trains.
  • This is a walking tour that takes you outdoors for hours. We recommend wearing comfortable shoes and clothing. Please bring sunshade and rain protection if necessary.
  • If you feel uncomfortable during the tour, please let us know. We will do our best to help you.
  • This tour includes free time. We will make sure you know when and where to meet again. If you get lost or forget your meeting point, please call us immediately.

Allergy Notice

  • Dessert served after the tea experience may contain allergens. Please inform us of any allergies beforehand. While we will do our best to communicate with the tea shop, we cannot guarantee allergen-free dessert.


  • Entrance fees for each spot during the tour
  • Japanese art experience fee
  • Guided tour with an English speaking guide


  • Food and drinks
  • Transportation costs before and after the tour


Can I join this tour from Kyoto?
Yes, you can join from Kyoto by taking the JR train from Kyoto Station to Uji Station. It only takes 16 minutes!
Can I join this tour from Nara?
Yes, you can join from Nara by taking the JR train from Nara Station to Uji Station. It takes 27 minutes!
Can I join this tour from Osaka?
Yes, you can join from Osaka by taking the JR train from Osaka Station to Uji Station. It takes 53 minutes!
Is this tour suitable for children?
Yes, it is suitable for children. However, only one thing to keep in mind. Since it is a walking tour, you will be walking for hours. If your child is too young, make sure you can hold them when needed.
What should I keep in mind during the matcha experience?
Be mindful that your clothes may get dirty due to the matcha powder fanning off in the air.

(Travel Agency License No: Nagano 2-562)
Snow Monkey Resorts Tours
Nagano City Kurita 1015-7, NK Copo 202, Nagano, 380-0921 Japan
Tel: (81)26-219-6256
Member of All Nippon Travel Agents Association
Travel Service Supervisor: Tomoko Kasahara