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Perfect Matcha: All about Tea in Nara

The tea ceremony is one of the quintessential Japanese experiences. Although tea was brought from China in the 9th century, it wasn’t until the end of the 12th century when the Zen monk Eisai brought powdered green tea and whisks to Japan, that matcha really took off.

Tea Masters & Tea Houses

In the Kamakura and Muromachi eras, tea ceremonies became a refined pastime of the nobility. The tea ceremony we know today was essentially perfected by the tea master master Rikyu in the 16th century. He also designed tea houses and gardens. In Yoshinoyama, you can visit his famous garden at Chikurin-in Temple & Garden.

Another key tea master of the same period, Sekishu Katagiri, founded a tea school for the samurai classes and built the lovely temple and tea house at Jikoin. As you are served matcha and wagashi in a serene, spacious tatami room overlooking Zen gardens, you can imagine it is 1663 and you are one of his guests.

Jikoin Temple

You can try matcha tea in a serene garden setting.

History & Culture | Yamato Koriyama

Tea Whisks

The Takayama area has been famous for tea whisks and accessories since the Muromachi period. Even now, about 90% of all tea whisks in Japan are made in these mountains. The area is dotted with tea houses and workshops and bamboo forests, redolent with the scent of roasted tea.

Suikaen Tanimura Yasaburo

Experience a traditional tea ceremony and see how the bamboo whisks are made.

History & Culture | Ikoma

Matcha & Wagashi

It takes many years to become a master of the tea ceremony, but you can experience the way of tea in a more relaxed environment at Taiseien. The owner speaks English and offers several tea experiences, from tasting matcha and wagashi, to a full tea ceremony with instruction on making tea and essential etiquette.

Taiseian

From a simple cup of matcha to a full ceremony, your friendly teacher can explain the process in English.

Japanese Cafes | Horyuji Temple

Nothing refreshes like a bowl of thick matcha tea and a sweet. At Kakigori Kashiya, matcha is served in Akahada bowls, the traditional pottery of Nara. In summer, you can cool down with shaved ice topped with matcha syrup.

Kakigori Kashiya

The exquisitely prepared wagashi at Kakigori Kashiya go wonderfully with a bowl of rich green tea.

Japanese Cafes | Naramachi

One of the key suppliers of wagashi for tea ceremonies in Nara, Nakanishi Yosaburo makes delicate sweets that change with the seasons; every month there is at least one new seasonal variation. You can try them with matcha in the attractive 1920s tea room behind the shop.

Nakanishi Yosaburo

A famous wagashi shop, which also serves matcha and sweet sets.

Edible Gifts | Naramachi
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