Do you see the serene and artistic beauty of these tea fields? This is Wazuka, a small town in the southern part of Kyoto Prefecture, which is renowned for its Uji tea production. Wazuka is home to hundreds of tea plantations, which cover the town’s hillsides and valleys. This scenic landscape of the tea fields was designated as the first Landscape Property of Kyoto Prefecture, and in 2015 it was recognized as a “Japan Heritage” site. It is also a member of the “Japan’s Most Beautiful Villages” association.
In this article, I will introduce you to Teatopia Wazuka, a perfect destination for tea lovers and nature lovers, as well as for anyone who wants to escape from the hustle and bustle of the city.
How to get to Wazuka
If you search for how to access Wazuka using a transportation app, you’ll find several options. I recommend using JR and a bus, which is the cheapest and most convenient way.
From JR Kyoko Station, it takes about one and a half hours. From JR Osaka Station, it also takes about one and a half hours, and from JR Nara Station, only about 30 minutes.
At Kamo Station, you need to change to a bus (No.65) that goes to Wazuka. The bus stop is located in front of the station, so you can easily find it. The bus only runs once an hour (note that there is no service between 12-1 p.m.), but you can transfer from JR to the bus with almost no waiting time.
Not long after the bus ride, you will see tea plantations along the way and enter Teatopia! After about 15 minutes on the bus, you will arrive at the bus stop “Wazuka Yama-no-Ie (和束山の家),” which is the 11th stop from Kamo Station and the center of Wazuka Town. You can get off at this stop and walk for about 5 minutes in the opposite direction of LAWSON, a convenience store, to find the “Wazuka-cha Cafe (和束茶カフェ),” a cozy place where you can enjoy the local tea and food.
How to enjoy Wazuka
Now, you arrive at Wazuka-cha Cafe. This is the perfect place to start your adventure in Wazuka! The cafe provides information and guidance for visitors who want to experience the charm of Wazuka. Whether you want to hike or cycle around the town, you can get a free map here first. The map is in Japanese only, but it will guide you. The cafe also allows visitors to rent electric bicycles for 1,000 yen per day to explore the tea fields and the scenic beauty of the town.
At Wazuka-cha Cafe, you can taste various kinds of tea that are grown and processed in Wazuka, such as sencha, gyokuro, hojicha, and matcha. The cafe also offers delicious meals and desserts that are made with local ingredients and tea, such as tea soba, tea ice cream, and tea cake. You can also buy tea and tea-related products as souvenirs at the cafe.
☆Tea Plantations in Ishitera (石寺の茶畑)
In Wazuka, tea fields can be found here and there. The most famous of these, “Tea Plantations in Ishitera,” is located 2.7 km (about a 30-minute walk) away from the Wazuka-cha Cafe. Enjoy this spectacular view for a while!
☆Miroku Magai Buddha (弥勒磨崖仏)
This is a stone Buddha carved into a huge rock 6-7 meters high along the Wazuka River.
☆Prince Asaka’s Imperial Mausoleum (安積親王墓)
The tomb of Prince Asaka, who adored the view of Wazuka, lies near Wazuka-cha Cafe. It is a tree-covered mound on a hill among tea fields, and it’s considered as one of Japan’s most ancient imperial tombs. You can also appreciate the beauty and tranquility of the landscape from there.
☆Shoho-ji Temple (正法寺)
It is said that the temple was built to pray for the soul of Prince Asaka. The autumn leaves are magnificent.
Wazuka has many more attractions besides the ones I mentioned above. The tea fields are evergreen, so you can enjoy their wonderful scenery throughout the year. In spring, cherry blossoms, and in autumn, the leaves add color to the green landscape. In April, when the tea shoots are ready, they begin to be covered with black sheets to block sunlight. This creates a striking contrast of green and black stripes, forming geometric patterns. That would also be something to see.
<Trivia: What is Uji tea, Japan’s leading tea brand?>
Uji City, where I live, is dotted with small tea plantations and is, of course, famous for its Uji tea. However, Uji tea does not refer to tea produced only in Uji, but to green tea processed in Kyoto by manufacturers in Kyoto using the original Uji method and using tea leaves grown in the following four prefectures: Kyoto, Nara, Shiga, and Mie. Wazuka is a famous tea production area, producing almost half of all Uji tea leaves.
•If you are interested in Uji City, please see my previous blog.→Uji City ~ the town of history and tea ~
How did you like the Wazuka tour? There are many activities and attractions related to tea, such as tea picking, tea making, tea tasting, tea ceremonies, and tea festivals. There are also several accommodations for those who are interested in staying. Teatopia Wazuka is a place where you can experience the essence of tea and the charm of rural life!
•Open this for more information about Wazuka.→Welcome to Teatopia Wazuka
Born and raised in Kyoto. A private tutor and a volunteer tour guide in Kyoto. Love sewing, kimono remaking, traveling, cooking, gardening, playing the shamisen(三味線), making stained glass and grandparenting as well.