Experience Japan's tea culture with a tea ceremony and matcha cuisine

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Written by Editorial department

In Uji that has been producing high-quality tea since ancient times, various tea cultures have blossomed throughout its long history. Among them, you can experience the charm of tea through the representative tea ceremony and matcha cuisine. Both of them have authentic content that is led by professionals.

In an elegant room, the instructor dressed in a kimono performs the tea ceremony procedures

At the public tearoom Taihoan that was built to face the World Heritage site Byodoin, you can freely experience an authentic tea ceremony. First of all, the tea ceremony procedures are performed by the instructor dressed in a kimono. Observe the instructor's flowing gestures while partaking in sweets that represent the season. When the prepared tea is brought to you, the instructor will make the etiquette easy to understand. There is no problem even if you are not proficient at it. What is essential is not the etiquette itself but your state of mind. Freely enjoy the deep taste of the Uji tea together with the beauty of the bowl.

You can experience a tea ceremony at the tearoom Taihoan even if you have never done it before and know nothing about it.
You can experience a tea ceremony at the tearoom Taihoan even if you have never done it before and know nothing about it.
The instructor's tea ceremony procedures. You can't take your eyes off of the flowing gestures.
The instructor's tea ceremony procedures. You can't take your eyes off of the flowing gestures.

Experience tea ceremony procedures while the instructor teaches you

After trying the instructor's delicious tea, now it is time to try out the tea ceremony procedures yourself. The instructor explains the tools prepared on the tray, and things move forward following their guidance. Even here, what is important is your state of mind. If you carefully make the tea with all your heart, you will surely come to understand the meanings behind each of the procedures. Even if things do not go that smoothly, the flavor of the tea you made yourself is special. Observe, touch, and taste the culture surrounding the tea ceremony and the fascination with Uji tea by experiencing everything with your five senses.

The instructor explains in detail how to use the tools and the etiquette.
The instructor explains in detail how to use the tools and the etiquette.
Calmly make tea by using authentic tools.
Calmly make tea by using authentic tools.

Try food unique to Uji at a longstanding ryotei built over 200 years ago

Once you have experienced the charm of Uji tea and tea culture with the tea ceremony, next up, enjoy food unique to Uji. Tatsumiya that is situated on the bank of the Uji River, is a well-established business with 180 years of history since it was built in 1840 as a tea wholesaler. It became a ryotei in 1913, and it introduced a new food culture of "eating tea" with unique "matcha cuisine" that infuses Uji's matcha into Kyoto-style cuisine. In addition to the food, much of the charm also comes from the Japanese elements that can be seen everywhere, including the architectural style, the arrangement of the rooms, the scenery from the windows, the tableware, and the service. You should also be able to gain a better understanding of it from the explanations in English from the vice-proprietress.

A longstanding ryotei with a purely Japanese architecture situated on the bank of the Uji River.
A longstanding ryotei with a purely Japanese architecture situated on the bank of the Uji River.
The vice-proprietress dressed in a kimono will explain things to you in English.
The vice-proprietress dressed in a kimono will explain things to you in English.
The beautiful scenery of the Uji River spreads out beyond the windows.
The beautiful scenery of the Uji River spreads out beyond the windows.

It's not just for drinking. Once again, learn of the charm surrounding Uji tea by eating it.

Tatsumiya's matcha cuisine uses plenty of matcha that Uji is famous for with traditional Kyoto-style cuisine at its base. The chef personally selects the tea leaves that will be used to match the ingredients and cuisine. There are many foods in Uji that use matcha to mix things up, such as with sweets and soba noodles, but nowhere else is there matcha cuisine that is incorporated into the dishes in an authentic Kyoto-style multi-course meal. The techniques that exquisitely combine the taste from the matcha with the inherent flavor of the seasonal ingredients are possible because this longstanding establishment has been involved with tea since its inception. The matcha cuisine that can only be tasted here will awaken you to the enjoyment that comes from eating tea.

Soichiro Hidari is the head chef and 8th generation owner of Tatsumiya.
Soichiro Hidari is the head chef and 8th generation owner of Tatsumiya.
An example of a matcha cuisine course.
An example of a matcha cuisine course.
Matcha tofu. This is one of their specialties that harmonizes the flavor of soybeans with the taste of the matcha.
Matcha tofu. This is one of their specialties that harmonizes the flavor of soybeans with the taste of the matcha.
Lily bulb topped with matcha, fresh tofu skin, and crab with matcha dressing.
Lily bulb topped with matcha, fresh tofu skin, and crab with matcha dressing.

You can experience these things here!