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History and Culture of Uji

[April 1, 2010]
History and Culture of Uji

Uji was a political focal point from old times. They say the detached palace of Ujinowakiiratsuko, who killed himself to yield the throne upon the succession of the Emperor Ojin, was located near the current Ujigami-jinja shrine/Uji-jinja shrine. Uji played the more important role in history as a strategic place for land and water transportation to connect Nara, Kyoto, and Shiga after the Uji Bridge was built.

As the locale for personal villas of the Fujiwara clan who were at the height of their prosperity in the Heian Era, splendid imperial culture flourished in Uji. The Phoenix Hall of the Byodo-in, an embodiment of the paradise, still retains in its original shape as its symbol.

Uji is also the setting for many literary works such as the Manyoshuf and The Tale of the Heike. Uji is well known by the setting for the Ten Uji Chapters from the world-renowned Tale of Genji.

In the Kamakura Era Meikei at Toganoo Kozanji Temple introduced teas to Uji. Under the patronage of Nobunaga and Hideyoshi, Uji became famous for growing teas, and Uji Tea has been valued as a high-end tea since the transfer of the capital to Edo up till now.

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