Best Seat in the House

Uji was the focal point for early tea traders and is considered the home of Japanese tea.

I arrived into Uji early morning and found the town had yet to wake up. So I decided to head away from the town, up into the hills.

The mountain air was good and my walk took me past a few remote temples and even the odd house. Before turning back, a quick map check to see how far I had walked (answer – surprisingly far!) led me to discover, nestled away up a steep, winding path, was a building called the Kyoto Prefectural Tea Laboratory. It was not far from me… Had fate led me here?!

It appeared not a site for the public and I guessed they didn’t get many visitors, but surely I could just pop along and take a quick peek, right…?!

The winding path took me past forests of giant bamboo, their breathtaking sight some compensation for the breathless steep incline! Finally, I reached a turn and saw the gates to the laboratory…

I suddenly became conscious I was uninvited and considered turning back. But I had come so far…! ‘OK, keep this brief’ I told myself and I walked through the gate.

Adjacent to the office facility were the tea fields. A couple of staff saw me and smiled. They were unconcerned (perhaps even mildly amused?) to see me so it seemed my presence wasn’t so unwelcome. I

I sat in the chair (the one on the right if you’re wondering) but kept my visit brief. One day I hope to return to the Kyoto Prefectural Tea Laboratory. Maybe with an invitation.