Day 5: My spirits dampen as I woke up and found that it was raining outside. (It was the only day it rained during my entire 9-day trip so lucky me actually.) I decided to save Tofukuji to another day but stick to my plan to visit Uji and Fushimi.
After a relaxing breakfast at the hostel, I borrowed an umbrella and walked towards Tofukuji Station. Maybe it's the weather, maybe it's the day after 2 major festivals, or maybe it's simply because it's Tuesday, the road was quiet and the 15-minute walk felt long and dreary. That's when sunflowers and the scent of kinmokusei came to rescue. Hehe!
dawned on me that the rain has set the perfect mood for my visit. Afterall, the last ten chapters of the Tale of Genji are set in Uji. (For the record, I only read the comic version by Waki Yamato.)
Other than the Tale of Genji, Uji is nationally famous for its green tea. Naturally, my first stop of the day is Itohkyuemon (伊藤久右衛門). I tried the different types of tea and ended up buying all of them and more. I can't leave without a box of the green tea kit-kat right? (They actually sell it in a lot of place but I am an "origins" fan, i.e. I want to buy my Uji tea in Uji, not in Kyoto, even if they are from the same store and it's exactly the same thing.) As I walked out the store, I knew if I am going to blow my budget, today will be the day.
|The residence along the historical district of Uji is very nice.|
You can see they have put much effort in decorating their gardens.
The Uji Bridge over the Uji River is very pretty and like I said before, the rainy weather was perfect for Uji.
Although the Phoenix Hall at Byodoin Temple is undergoing major restoration from September 2012 to March 2014, I think the Museum alone is worth the visit. Byodoin was also originally a villa to Minamoto no Shigenobu and purchased by the most powerful member of the Fujiwara clan, Fujiwara no Michinaga. It was converted into a Buddhist temple by Fjuiwara no Yorimichi.
|The family tree of Fujiwara no Michinaga.|
He married princesses and his daughters married the emperors.
That's the way to stay in the power game I guess...
After Byodoin, I walked to Tokichi for lunch. There is a Tokichi near Byodoino too but I went to the main store. I was promptly seated and I ordered the herring soba with the green tea dessert set. The soba wasn't as good as compared to the one I had in Arashiyama but the dessert made up for it! Most people came just for the dessert.
|green tea jelly, mochi, red bean paste and green tea ice cream - in a frozen bamboo container|
only available at the "honten" (head office).
|The pelicans are experts in catching fish.|
There is a festival in the summer (mid-June to late-September) that actually shows how fishermen uses these birds to catch fish.
Although written with different characters now, the name Fushimi (which used to be its own "town") originally comes from fusu + mizu, meaning "hidden water" or "underground water". In other words, the location was known for good spring water. The water of Fushimi has particularly soft characteristics, making it an essential component to the particular type of sake brewed in Fushimi. This also explains why the area developed as a sake-brewing center in Kyoto. Today, Fushimi is the second greatest area of Japan in terms of sake production, and is where the sake company Gekkeikan was founded.Gekkeikan Okura Sake Museum. Since I couldn't make an advance reservation, I was unable to visit the "月桂冠酒香房". Bummer! I wish I could see how they actually make the sake.
|Entrance free is JPY300 - you can a can of sake, and free tasting of 3 different typs of sake.|
you also get the postcard if you show them your value ticket.
The other tourist attraction is the Teradaya Inn, where Ryoma Sakamoto was attacked and injured. It was also where his future wife, Ryo Narasaki, saved his life.
|of course, I have to get myself a bottle...|
it was really good quality water so I went back later before I leave for more!
|My guess is Aeon has super sales every Tuesday.|
It felt like the whole town was there but the deal is unbeatable!