Japanese tea (green tea) is not all about matcha, there are also sencha and hojicha, all with different fragrances and tastes. When talking about a great workshop to participate in while travelling Japan, undoubtedly, it is tea ceremony. In this article, we would like to introduce some spots to enjoy Japanese tea, from the basics, tea ceremony, to tea appreciation.
When mentioning Japanese tea (green tea), many people think of matcha while sencha and hojicha are also available and have differingfragrances and tastes because of their different preparation processes. The most common Japanese tea is “Sencha”. Roasting sencha and other tea leaves for a greater aroma, it becomes “Hojicha”. Steaming tea leaves cultivated without direct sunlight, drying them without rubbing and finally grinding them to become powders in a stone mill, it turns into “Matcha”. These are all non-fermented green tea.
When talking about tea specialty, it is Shizuoka. The amount of tea produced in Shizuoka is first in Japan (as in 2018), making up 40% of all Japanese tea. Besides sencha and other well-known teas, Shizuoka is especially famous for the high-quality green tea called “Gyokuro”. Following in the second place is Kagoshima, with a specific tea brand called Chirancha from Minamikyushu City of the prefecture. The taste is refreshing, easy to drink, and popular even among youngsters. Other famous teas include Isecha from Mie, the national third, Yamecha from Fukuoka, and Uji matcha from Kyoto.
It is located in Chiran, Kagoshima- which is famous for Chirancha. Here, you can learn about the process of tea production through making your original tea and picking your own tea leaves. Its café serves a sencha set, with eicha tea and confection; it is highly recommended too. You can also find out more from an past article in JAPAN by Japan.
A tea factory established in the Edo period, it uses tea leaves from contracted tea farms for its exclusive production process. The “Tomaya Tea Workshop”, which teaches you the proper steps to make and drink tea, is a very popular programme. There is also a small café to try out the great Gyokuro there.
Tea ceremony is a Japanese tradition in which hosts prepare tea for guests to enjoy as hospitality. There are rules on each step of the ceremony from the preparation to drinking, sitting, showing of appreciation, standing up, and then walking. As such, tea workshops cover all the basics of tea appreciation and participants can enjoy and experience. These are popular among overseas tourists. Admission fee varies from JPY 1,000 to JPY 3,000, depending on the facilities and time.
Takayama in Ikoma City of Nara is said to be the home of bamboo crafts. The Takayama Chikurin Park has a museum with a number of bamboo crafts such as chasen (whisk), different tea wares and needles. It also has a Japanese garden with Chikubu hermitage（teahouse）. It is also famous for its “Matcha Workshop” with whisk production and matcha-making experience. Users of JAPAN by Japan can find more information here as well.
Enjoy Japanese tea ceremony and savour great tea when you are touring around in Japan!
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