The city of Uji is located between Kyoto and Nara, two cities that are considered famous cultural centers with a rich history. It's not really a surprise that Uji itself, due to the proximity to these former capitals, developed into a kind of cultural center itself. For green tea lovers and matcha aficionados, Uji might even be the centre of the universe.
Uji has been known for its high quality green tea for centuries. Since around the 11th century, Uji has been cultivating green tea and it is still done so today. Many tea houses here are still preparing green tea and its many variations in the same traditional way as they've done for centuries.
The green tea produced in Uji has been deemed a very precious gift since 1400, and was revered by the nobility. Nowadays, you can explore the history of green tea by strolling around Uji and visiting the many tea shops.
One of them is the famous Nakamura Tokichi, a tea house that has been established in 1854. Their main store is located near JR Uji Station and can be reached within around one-minute walk. A second store can be found near the river, which will take about 10 minutes to walk from the JR Station.
Their tea assortment boasts with 14 green tea variations, ranging from Matcha over Sencha to Yanagi and Konacha. Their Nakamura-cha is their own unique blend of seven different types of green tea, which is said to change its flavor by adjusting the water temperature.
A Tea Ceremony Experience is offered at their main store and it invites visitors to grind their own Matcha by using a stone mill and the store's high quality Tencha. The freshly ground Matcha can then be enjoyed during a Genroku-style Tea Ceremony, either as Koicha (thick matcha tea) or Usucha (thin matcha tea) with homemade Matcha-Jelly.
But it's not just about drinking tea; Nakamura Tokichi also offers tea infused dishes, with cold matcha soba being one of the most popular choice.
If you love green tea and want to learn more about this century old Japanese tradition of making and enjoying tea, then Uji and Nakamura Tokichi is the place for you!
Their website can be found here http://www.tokichi.jp/english/. The Tea Ceremony Experience can be booked in advance or sometimes, depending on how busy the shop is, even made on the day. It takes between 40-60 minutes and costs 4320 Yen, including tax and refreshments.
Access to Uji:
From JR Kyoto Station: Take the JR Nara Line to UJi (approximately 17 minutes)
From JR Nara Station: Take the JR Nara Line to Uji (approximately 30 minutes)
Uji can be easily navigated on foot with all main attractions being clearly displayed and marked on local maps.
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