While not as critical as a visit to Nara or Kyoto, the town of Uji is worth a stop. Walking from the train station to the Byodo-in or Pheonix hall, it's easy to discover uji's claim to fame - tea. Pick up a souvenir tea canister as you pass shop after shop. The temple itself is quite impressive. As we were there in winter, it's also rather deserted. There is a smallish museum with some old Buddhas. After a visit to the temple, walk to the river and cross the bridge for a quiet stroll in the park. Uji makes for a great retreat from the crowds of Kyoto and a great opportunity to stretch you legs on the way to or from Nara. It is shockingly undercommercialized. A great look at a small town on an itinerary that can be quickly loaded with big cities.
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