Tea is a big thing in Japan, especially matcha tea, and while we were in Kyoto we went to Ippodo, one of the oldest tea shops in the world, and to a traditional tea ceremony.
Firstly Ippodo. Until Sister and I walked inside the sheer cost of tea was only something I knew theoretically – I am not a tea drinker and I rarely ever buy tea. When I walked in and looked at some of the prices I realised just how valued and expensive tea was. We decided to pay a visit to their café and treat ourselves to some of the finest tea in Japan.
I ordered traditional matcha while sister went for something new, hojicha, a tea which is low in caffeine and rich in flavour and aroma. I definitely agree with that. The smell was delicious and the preparation interesting.
The tea pot is incredible isn’t it? I had never seen anything like that before.
The sweet good given with the tea was also delicious and very unusual in its texture – it resembled a slightly hard jelly but so much tastier.
As sister enjoyed it, I wished I had ordered something similar until I actually got mine. Mine was frothy and green and heavenly.
A few days later we went to En and their traditional tea ceremony. This was a whole new world of culture and ritual.
The bamboo whisk was amazing – each one unique and hand crafted. At Ippodo I wondered what made my tea so frothy and only later did I realise that it was this.
Now that I am back home I am so glad I experienced both these places as from both we bought tea. Without knowing some of the Japanese history behind tea it wouldn’t nearly be as exciting.