The first odour your olfactory senses will experience, upon arrival at Uji,will be the smell of roasting tea. Shogun Ashikaga Yoshimitsu (1358-1408) promoted the cultivation of Green Tea in the Uji area. Since that time Uji has been an important production and distribution centre of superior quality Green Tea.
The final chapters of "The Tale of Genji", what is considered the worlds first novel, written by Murasaki Shikibu in the early 11th century, are set in Uji, attracting literature buffs from all around the world.Evidence of this masterpiece can still be seen in-and-around Uji - The Tale of Genji Statue and Bridge, and The Tale of Genji Museum, both worth the visit.
Visitors are also attracted to Uji for it's centuries-old historic sites, which include many Shinto Shrines and Buddhist Temples. Among the most famous are the Ujigami Shrine (built in 1060) and the Byodo-in Temple (built in 998), both which are listed as U.N.E.S.C.O. "World Heritage Sites".
This course I am promoting as a stroll through history.You will get to visit some historic Shrines and Temples, as well as taking-in the Tale of Genji Museum. Then it will take you through the "Green Belt",to the Mt Daikichi lookout point, where you will have a birds-eye view of Uji and it's environs ( an ideal place to have lunch), before descending to the Uji-gawa (Uji River), via Kosho-ji Temple, and onto the Amagase Dam. Then it's back along the Uji-gawa, where you will cross Asagiri and Tachibana bridges, and onto Byodo-in Temple. From here you will stroll through the Uji shopping area, and the odour of roasting tea, before ending at the Tale of Genji Statue and Bridge.
Regardless of where you are staying, Uji is very accessible. There are two rail companies that service Uji - Japan Rail, via the Nara Line, and Keihan, via the Uji Line.If you are coming via J.R, you need to change trains at Nara City or Kyoto City. On Keihan, regardless if you are coming from Osaka or Kyoto, you need to change at Chushojima Station.
The area is well-signposted.There are small maps posted around the area, showing your current location, places of interest plus a description of the site you are about to visit.Also the trail is dyed in light-brown, with steel plaques inlaid to guide you to your next destination.
Any time of year, is a good time to visit Uji. But around Autumn (October - December), with the many colours that are abound at this time of year, and Spring (April-May), you will get to experience "Cherry Blossom" viewing.Check-out the attached link for any festivals that may be about to take place. Being in town, at this time, will add to your enjoyment.
Food-wise, I would suggest you load some snacks and drinks into your pack, to enjoy at the many rest-stops along the way. Then, when you have reached your goal, take-in one of the many restaurants and cafes situated within the Uji shopping area.At the Tale of Genji Bridge, there is a shop that sells Green Tea soft-freeze. Just the tonic after your hike.