[Post-Post] Golden Week: Day 7

Today was probably one of the most epic days I've had in recent memory. It wasn't awesome just because I got to go to Uji, one of my favorite places in Kansai; I also got to spend the entire day with the Town Mouse and two of my best friends in the whole wide world, Valerie and Jennifer!

We met up at Sanjo Keihan. I love taking the Keihan line of trains because they are always clean and comfortable, with hardly any people, even during rush hour. The train we were riding was called the "Elegant Saloon Series".... it made me laugh. Japan has a lot of funny English like that though. The cost to get to Uji is actually surprisingly cheap from where we live now, so I think I'll go there more.

I've been to Uji before, of course, and I've blogged about it in the past, so I won't go into much detail about the history of the town. Uji is well known for its green tea, in particular it's matcha, and for being one of the cities connected to the masterpiece The Tale of Genji, a mammoth of a book and the first known novel of the world. It was written by Murasaki Shikibu, whose statues can be found all over town. This one is directly in front of Uji Bridge. Marusaki was the daughter of an aristocrat who thought it imperative she known how to read and write, in a time where women hardly ever did such things.

We stopped briefly for lunch at Saizeriya, a chain Italian-food restaurant that I highly recommend eating at if you have one in the area. It's really good, cheap food and its varied enough. They also offer a drink bar, which is great. Afterwards, we made our way to Kanbayashi Tea Store, pictured to the left. This store is probably my favorite store in all of Japan. It is run by the five-time tea champion of Japan, Kanbayashi-san. The store is over five hundred years old, and Kambayashi-san is the sixteenth generation tea master. The tea really is the best there is. I love it! Last time I was here, I ordered tea with some small treats. This time, I ordered adzuki soup with my matcha, but the waitress unfortunately got the order wrong so I ended up with matcha shaved ice. All the same, this was tasty too, if a little cold!

Kambayashi-san was at the store again! We got to take pictures with him and hear the history of the store again. He let us go to the second floor of his shop again, where they keep all of the artifacts of the tea store's history. It really is amazing. He has the original letters of thanks that were sent from nobles and samurai, all the way back to the Muromachi period, right on the wall!

  After we had our fill of tea, we walked to the Genji Museum, which I've talked about before. It's really awesome, if a little small. If you're a fan of the book, it's definitely worth going. My favorite room in the museum is the incense room, where can smell samples of the ingredients used in incense. Mmm...

We walked around a little more after that, but then we got tired, so decided to head back. We got side tracked by a really awesome double-decker train adn ended up taking the wrong line back though, whoops! It took about forty minutes to get back to where we needed to be... After that, we went and got PuriKura at Sanjo, and then took the train up to Demachiyanagi, where Valerie recommended Falafel Garden, a realy delicious middle-eastern food restaurant. I haven't had a falafel in forever! 

All in all, it was an amazing day. I've really gotten my fill of fun this year so far. Thank you to all of my friends, and the lovely Town Mouse. You guys mean the world to me.