Tea is an indispensable beverage for Japanese life and tea culture such as “Cha-no-Yu” is originated in the Kansai region.
Tea was said to be a precious medicine in the beginning of the medieval period.
Then, various kinds of tea and a variety of drinking methods have been developed to make it a popular beverage today.
It is said that tea was first introduced in 805 by Saicyo, the founder of Enryakuji temple in Mt. Hiei, who brought back tea seeds from China (Tang Dynasty) and planted it in the Otsu City area of Shiga Prefecture.
Eisai, a monk, explained that tea is sovereign remedy in his book of “Kissayojoki,” written around 1200. Thus tea has been considered good for health since the old days. In the 16th century, Japanese unique tea “Maccha,” which is strong in taste with brilliant dark green color, was born in Uji, Kyoto Prefecture.
In the 17th century, “Encha-ho” method, which is to drink tea by pouring hot water on tea leaves, was developed.
And Soen Nagatani, who lived in Ujitawara-cho Yuyadai, the current Kyoto Prefecture, invented the “Uji method (Aosei Sencha Seiho)” in 1738, which is to rub and dry steamed tea shoots on the stove.
This is the standard method for the current “Sencha.” And in the 19th century, it produced “Gyokuro,” the best tea making technology, by combining it with the Oishita-saibai (cultivation by blocking direct sunlight) method in Uji.
Matcha and Japanese traditional sweets