Uji, Kyoto

One afternoon we went to Uji for an impromptu girls' day afternoon tea. I say "tea" but what I really mean is dessert.

As the second largest city in Kyoto Prefecture, Uji is a major matcha (green tea) production and distribution center. All the green tea imported into the U.S. comes from Uji. It is also the site of numerous Shinto shrines, Buddhist temples, the Uji River, and the setting for the last chapters of The Tale of Genji, which a classic piece of Japanese literature and possibly the world's first novel.

To get there we had to switch trains at Chushojima Station, which had a small noodle shop on the platform. How brilliant!  

It was lunch time anyway, so we ducked in for udon.

Incredible udon and rice bowl for only $5.20.

This shop is run by a one-woman team.

I was taking this picture and didn't even realize our train arrived and was about to leave without us. L-R: my mom-in-law Joyce, sister-in-law Denise, and niece Mia. On to Uji!

We arrived in Uji, where we walk off some of our lunch and look at traditional details. I have admired Japanese architecture ever since I learned what architecture was.

A few shops sell the city's specialty product in numerous variations.

Matcha omiyage (souvenir) wrapped and ready for gifting 

The roasting machine fills the air with the aroma of roasted tea.

I like the smell of roasted tea, which is a bit like burning leaves.

Ah, I love packaging.

Tea barrels

Uji River

I love this shop! They have the best prints of furoshiki (wrapping fabric).

Now for the real reason we went to Uji, afternoon "tea" at Nakamura Tokichi Honten. I didn't realize then how amazing this was going to be.

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Amelia was asleep when we had udon at the train platform, so we ordered matcha soba for her at Nakamura. She hardly ate the green noodles, so the four of us shared it. OMG it was so good! I'm dreaming of the next time I have it again.

My afternoon tea set with hojicha, matcha, azuki, mochi sandwiched in between wafers; matcha chocolate bark (to die); matcha truffle cubes; matcha cake topped with cream and seasonal strawberries.

Mia's dessert with matcha jelly, azuki, matcha ice cream, and mochi in a bamboo cup.

After-sweets happiness.

Nakamura Tokichi Honten tea to go.

This hojicha (roasted green tea) chocolate bark is beyond words. I bought two boxes and they're long gone. I wonder if they sell this in America.

Nakamura tea house makes its own matcha jelly and mochi.

I heart Nippon.

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Nakamura Tokichi Honten
10 Ichiban Uji, Uji, Kyoto Prefecture 611-0021, Japan
www.tokichi.jp