Uji is the capital of green tea in Japan and one of the places that I visited was the Taiho-an tea house. You can experience a traditional Japanese tea ceremony for only 500 Yen ($6 AUD) – what a bargain. You need to buy your ticket from the visitor center right across from Taiho-An before you can enter.
The ceremony goes for about half an hour while I sat on the tatami floors in seiza (正座). Believe me, it hurt but I didn’t want to be soft like S. She gave us a traditional Japanese sweet and it had to be eaten first to offset the bitterness of the matcha (powdered green tea).
While we were eating, the kimono-clad women started preparing the matcha. I can understand and appreciate why a tea ceremony is called an art now. Her movements were so precise and graceful from adding the hot water to the matcha to mixing it with the bamboo whisk.
The matcha was hot and bitter with a sweet aftertaste. It is the most amazing green tea I’ve ever tasted, converting me into a matcha addict now.
Highly recommended especially since you can experience something so traditional and quintessentially Japanese at a completely reasonable price.
1-5 Uji-tougawa Uji City, Kyoto