Ujitawara Town is called "the birthplace of Japanese green tea”. Nagatani Soen, a farmer based in Ujitawara during the Edo period, invented an innovative tea processing method called "Aosei Sencha Seihou" and then spread it nationwide.
Ujitawara Town is surrounded by unspoiled nature and decorated with a long history.
The natural landscape in Ujitawara is like a historical monument. It stands quietly and lets time pass by, while changing its face variously according to the four seasons.
According to legend, Zenjoji Temple was inaugurated by Heiso Shonin, a betto (an administrator) at Todaiji Temple in Nara. Many important cultural properties are there enshrined, such as the Eleven-Headed Kannon, which is the principal image of this temple, the standing statue of Nikko and Gakko Bodhisattva, the Jizo Bodhisattva in the hanka (half-lotus) position and the standing statue of Shitenno.
Sarumaru Shrine enshrines Sarumaru Dayu, a famous waka poet for his poem "In the depths of the faraway mountains, I step on beds of fallen leaves. I hear a deer calling for his mate, and a feeling of sadness pierces my heart." Sarumaru Dayu is revered as a deity for removing wens.
The shrine is crowded with many visitors at the festival held on the thirteenth of each month.
In the southeast part of Ujitawara Town rises a sacred mountain called Jubusan. The streams flowing from the deep valley creates many waterfalls.
Among them, Otaki Waterfalls in Yuyadani is special because it enshrines a water deity.On September 1st every year, a ritual called Otaki Daimyojin Festival is held to pray for huge harvest and rain.
The green tea we drink today is produced by a tea processing method called "Aosei Sencha Seiho". This method was invented by Nagatani Soen, a Ujitawara resident during the reign of Tokugawa Yoshimune, the eighth shogun of the Tokugawa dynasty. Prior to his invention, Japanese tea was nothing more than decoction tea that is reddish black in color and poor in taste. The hoiro (a table for rolling and drying tea leaves) in his birthplace is still preserved, reminiscent of the situation at that time.
Approximately 300 cherry trees are planted along the Yasuragi-no-michi Promenade on the Tawara River from the Gonokuchi area to the Iwayama area.
The promenade becomes a cherry blossom tunnel in early April.
The cherry trees next to the town office are lit up at night during the flowering season, so people can enjoy viewing cherry blossoms after work.
Kutsuwaike Nature Park is included in the best 100 forest bathing places in Japan. The park is rich in flora and fauna, including trees, wild vegetables, wild birds and small animals. (You can see a variety of trees like cedars, red pines and low-grade trees around Kutsuwaike Pond.) A lot of people visit the park throughout the four seasons.
The park has facilities such as camping site, tennis court, adventure playground and fishing pond.
From Kyoto Station, please take the JR Nara Line and get off the train at Uji Station. Then, please take the Kyoto Keihan Bus.
Sarumaru Shrine’s festival held on the 13th of each month
The festival held in January is called Hatsu Sarumaru. Visitors are offered zenzai (red bean and rice cake dessert soup) and other seasonal food.
Nukazuka no Kanjoza
Kanjonawa (a sacred rope) is placed at village boundary to protect people from evils.
This ceremonial ritual is performed in the Araki, Tachikawa, Iwayama, and Zenjoji districts.
From late April to early May
A manual tea rolling demonstration and a training for tea rolling machine operation
The traditional manual tea rolling method is demonstrated by the Tea Hand Rolling Preservation Association.
The first tea picked in late April is used in the demonstration. The training provides an opportunity to learn how to use a tea rolling machine.
Early May on a Sunday
Gathering for a tea picking experience
An event full of activities, such as a manual tea rolling experience, chakabuki (a blind tea tasting competition), a tea brewing class, traditional tea picking costume rental, and a Matcha tea grinding experience with a stone mortar
Early to mid May
Shincha Festival at Nagatani Soen’s birthplace
An exciting hand-on learning event that provides a tea picking experience at Soen’s birthplace, Shincha (the first picked tea) processing experience, and a treat of Sencha and rice balls.