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Uji’s Temples and Shrines: Uncover the Spiritual Beauty of Uji, Kyoto

2024.07.03

A pathway to Ujigami Shine bordered with lush greenery and a bright red torii
Kyoto Tea Country

Does the idea of navigating crowds of tourists in Kyoto city make you feel claustrophobic? We have you covered. Take a train south from Kyoto for about 30 minutes, and you’ll arrive in Uji City. Exploring Uji’s temples and shrines in the heart of Kyoto Tea Country is a great way to get the Kyoto experience without fighting the crowds. Here, you’ll find a city filled with history, culture, and tradition. Each temple and shrine offers a glimpse into Japan’s rich heritage. From the tranquil grounds of Byodo-in Temple to the serene beauty of Eshin-in Temple, Uji’s temples and shrines beckon you to explore their enchanting world. In this place, the past and present converge, inviting you to discover the secrets of the soul.

Byodo-in Temple

Byodo-in Temple

Byodo-in Temple, located in Uji, Kyoto, is a serene and peaceful place that offers a glimpse into the spiritual side of Japan. The temple, designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, was originally built in 998. You’ll want to visit its stunning Phoenix Hall, which you can see on the ten yen coin. So what are you waiting for? Take a moment to admire the intricate architecture of Byodo-in Temple and escape the hustle and bustle of daily life.

Byodo-in Temple

Byodo-in Temple

Byodo-in Temple, which shows the historical glory of the Fujiwara clan, was once a villa on the west bank of the Uji-gawa River. It belonged to Minamoto no Toru but was given to Fujiwara no Michinaga. …

Uji Shrine

Steps leading up to Uji Shrine

Uji Shrine is one of the oldest Shinto shrines in Japan and holds great historical and cultural significance. The shrine is over 1000 years old and is dedicated to the deity Uji-no-Waki-iratsuko, son of Emperor Ojin. As you stroll through the shrine grounds, you’ll discover cultural artifacts, such as wooden guardian dogs and Noh masks. To sum up, Uji Shrine offers a unique glimpse into the spiritual heritage of Uji City.

Uji Shrine

Standing on the banks of the Uji River, Uji Shrine is said to have been built in the Heian Period (794-1185). Formerly, it was known as the Yawata-miya Imperial Villa (Kirihana Higeta-no-miya), and its enshrined deity is Uji-no-Waki-iratsuko, son of Emperor Ojin. The main hall (an Important Cultural Property) was built in the Kamakura period (1185-1333) in a three-peaked nagare-zukuri style, but there are other remaining cultural treasures as well, such as wooden guardian dogs and Noh masks.

Ujigami Shrine

Pathway to Ujigami Shine bordered with lush greenery and cherry blossoms.

Ujigami Shrine is designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The shrine was originally built over a millennia ago and is considered one of the oldest wooden shrines in Japan. The prayer hall, designed in the shinden-zukuri-like style, is a national treasure. The intricate details of the wooden structure and the sense of history that permeates the air create an awe-inspiring experience. So go ahead and immerse yourself in its grandeur and beauty.

Ujigami Shrine

The main hall, said to be the oldest extant example of Shinto architecture, was built during the Heian period (794-1185), and consists of three units connected in the nagare-zukuri style, with larger shrine units on the left and right, and a smaller center one. The prayer hall (a national treasure), is built in a shinden-zukuri-like residential architectural style, and is said to be the remains of the old Uji Imperial Villa. Together with Uji Shrine, this his shrine is said to have originally been Shinto shrines on the grounds of Byodo-in Temple.

Obaku-san Manpuku-ji Temple

Obaku-san Manpuku-ji Temple from the front with tall pine trees

Obaku-san Manpuku-ji Temple is a Zen Buddhist temple that offers a serene environment for meditation and contemplation. The temple, founded in the 17th century, has beautiful gardens and a calming atmosphere. When you step inside the temple, you’ll immediately feel a sense of peace and serenity wash over you. You can take part in a meditation session led by the temple’s resident monks, or wander through the gardens and enjoy the beauty of nature. Obaku-san Manpuku-ji Temple is the perfect place to escape the chaos of the modern world and find inner peace.

Obaku-san Manpuku-ji Temple

Obaku-san Manpuku-ji is the head temple of the Obaku school of Zen Buddhism. It was founded in 1661 by the Chinese monk Ingen, who came to Japan in the early Edo period (1603-1868).
The temple grounds are lined with great Chinese-style temple buildings, giving it an exotic feeling. Visitors can also experience culture from the Asian continent in the form of Fucha vegetarian cuisine, which originates from China, or “Bonbai” sutras read in Chinese rhyme.

Mimuroto-ji Temple

Colorful hydrangeas and trees in the Mimuroto-ji Temple grounds

Mimuroto-ji Temple is nestled in the hills of Uji, Kyoto. This hidden gem offers a glimpse into Japan’s cultural heritage. The temple, founded in the 10th century, is famous for its beautiful gardens and vibrant seasonal flowers. Take in the colors and scents of nature as you explore the temple grounds. Explore the temple’s history and discover ancient rituals and traditions. Whether you love nature or history, this temple is a must-visit.

Mimuroto-ji Temple

Mimuroto-ji Temple

Mimuroto-ji Temple is known for its spectacular gardens, and it is sometimes called the “Temple of Flowers.” Mimuroto-ji is located in Uji City, part of Kyoto’s tea-producing region in the south of Ky …

Kosho-ji Temple

Kosho-ji Temple with a Japanese-style garden

Kosho-ji Temple is a serene and peaceful place where visitors can experience a moment of tranquility. The temple, founded in the 13th century, is popular for its beautiful gardens and traditional architecture. Indulge in the soothing sounds of nature and the scent of incense as you wander the temple grounds. Take a moment to sit in quiet contemplation, or take part in a traditional tea ceremony to immerse yourself in the serenity of the temple. Kosho-ji Temple offers a peaceful retreat from the bustling city and a chance to reconnect with your inner self.

Kosho-ji Temple

Kosho-ji Temple

This temple of the Soto Zen school of Buddhism was a training hall opened in Fukakusa (Fushimi) by the Buddhist monk Dogen in the Kamakura Period (1192-1333). It was later reconstructed in 1648 by Lo …

Eshin-in Temple

A pathway to Eshin-in Temple flanked by vibrant yellow flowers and lush greenery.

Eshin-in Temple is a place of tranquility and spiritual reflection. This 11th-century temple welcomes you with moss-covered paths and the sound of chanting monks. We recommend taking a moment to sit in the temple’s meditation hall and let your mind and body relax after a long day of sightseeing. The sights and sounds of the temple will melt away your worries. So make sure to add Eshin-in Temple to your trip itinerary.

Eshin-in Temple

Eshin-in Temple

Eshin-in Temple is also known as the “Temple of Flowers,” and in spring and autumn, the garden becomes home to vast swathes of flowers that soothe the heart and calm the mind. Tradition has it that th …

Uncover the Spiritual Beauty of Uji with a Temple and Shrine Tour

Embark on a temple and shrine tour in Uji, Kyoto, and uncover the spiritual beauty of this enchanting city. In Uji, you’ll discover Japan’s rich history, cultural heritage, and stunning architecture. Uji offers a unique and immersive experience for visitors. A temple and shrine tour in Uji, Kyoto, is a journey of self-discovery and a chance to connect with the rich spiritual traditions of Japan. Ready to go on a spiritual adventure? Click on the links in this article to learn more and discover more trip ideas!