Why Matcha in Uji, Kyoto? Let's learn about its history and characteristics.

Why Matcha in Uji, Kyoto? Let's learn about its history and characteristics.

Kyoto

It is one of the most beautiful tourist destinations in Japan.


Once the capital of Japan, it is known for its many historic Buddhist temples, gardens, imperial palaces and residences, shrines, and traditional wooden houses. It is also famous for its traditional kaiseki cuisine, characterized by course menus, and the geisha of Gion.


Open any travel guidebook to Japan and you will find that Kyoto is a must-visit destination.

And they are not wrong.


One of the many attractions of Kyoto that should not be missed is matcha green tea. It is Matcha.


History of Matcha

There is a theory that Matcha originated in China, around present-day Yunnan Province.


It is believed that a Japanese Buddhist monk, Saicho, brought back Matcha from there.


The capital of Japan at that time was called Heian-kyo, located in present-day Kyoto.

After returning to Japan from China, Saicho recommended matcha to the emperor and began to cultivate it in the capital.


Later, ‘Sen no Rikyu’, known as the god of tea in Japan, is credited with spreading the culture of Matcha.

At that time, feudal lords in various parts of Japan were fighting for power, and one of their goals was to establish a base in Kyoto in order to achieve unification of the country.

The culture and production center of Matcha tea also developed in Kyoto, and its history continues to this day.


Why Uji?

Matcha is produced mainly in Nishio City, Aichi Prefecture, Fujieda City, Shizuoka Prefecture, and Yame City, Fukuoka Prefecture in Japan. Uji Matcha, produced in the Wazuka-cho and Yamashiro area near Uji, Kyoto Prefecture, is particularly famous for its high-quality Matcha.


Tea seeds brought to Japan from China were received by monks at the time and planted at a temple in Kyoto, which led to the development of the oldest tea plantation in Japan.


The tea cultivation started by the monks later spread to the surrounding areas of Kyoto Prefecture, and among them, the Uji area was the most tea-growing area in Kyoto Prefecture because the terrain and climate were very suitable for tea cultivation.


Around 1300-1400, a number of designated tea gardens were established in Japan, and Uji tea was given special protection because of its high quality, gradually establishing the Uji tea brand.

As time went by, new tea cultivation methods were developed and higher quality teas were processed.



As the Uji brand spread, abundant oil, dried sardines, and fertilizers were brought to Kyoto from all over Japan, and high-quality organic nitrogenous fertilizers were used for tea cultivation. This unique Japanese Matcha was born in Uji.


The Shogun patronized this unique Japanese Matcha, and established a sales route to transport the new tea that the Shogun drank every year from Uji to Edo (present-day Tokyo).


Later, Uji tea makers began to blend and produce tea to suit the tastes of different regions of Japan, and other creative efforts were made in Uji.


Uji has remained one of the most popular sightseeing spots in Kyoto Prefecture, with its peaceful villages of tea gardens and tea production facilities, and the beautiful townscape of the Uji tea masters' residences.


Enjoy Uji matcha!

Of course, you can drink Uji Matcha as it is, but if the astringency or bitterness bothers you, try enjoying it in a latte or iced.


Matcha ramen noodles and Matcha beer will welcome you when you come to Kyoto.

If you are interested in the traditional and healthy taste of Matcha, you should definitely try it.



If you visit Uji, Kyoto, please share your photos with us.

Please post them on social media with the hashtag matcha_maku. We are always checking!