The center of the traditional Japanese tea ceremony, powdered matcha green tea continues to be a symbol of refinement and relaxation in Japan, long since tea culture was established through Zen Buddhism in the 12th century. Full of antioxidants, green tea is healthy but bitter, perfectly balanced by a bite of an elegant Japanese wagashi sweet. Once a traditional meeting place for elite aristocrats, the tea ceremony in Japan represents high sophistication in a peaceful moment of pleasure. Still honored as a humbling ritual enjoyed in tea houses and matcha cafes throughout Japan today, the meditative preparation process extends to the fine art of brewing, serving, and drinking matcha.
It’s lovingly produced around the country, however, the city of Uji (just to the south of Kyoto) produces some of the best matcha in Japan, boasting country-wide fame. Richly colored and intensely flavored, green tea leaves are dried and milled, with each regional variety showcasing a noticeably different style. Matcha is also used in a variety of desserts like mochi, matcha ice cream, and wagashi sweets, but it’s also gained popularity in modern snacks such as Pocky sticks, Kit Kats, and signature Starbucks lattes. To experience a traditional tea ceremony in Tokyo or to taste high-quality matcha during a tea tour in Kyoto, join one of our immersive green tea experiences and be captivated by the culture of tea in Japan!