Uji is one of the most famous sites of green tea production and distribution in all of Japan, its superior matcha supplying the tea ceremonies of Kyoto and beyond for centuries. It was during the early 11th century that green tea leaves were first introduced in Japan from China, and it was cultivated in Uji as matcha became increasingly popular among the nobility. This makes Uji the perfect place to immerse yourself in Japanese tea culture through experiencing a tea ceremony. Here are the best tea ceremony places in Uji.
Taihoan tea house is operated by Uji City, sitting adjacent to the popular Byodoin Temple. You’ll be treated to a tea ceremony hosted by Tea Ceremony Association teachers. A few days a month, there are also sencha tea days. Sencha tea ceremonies are less common, using tea leaves instead of powder.
Access: 15 minute walk from Uji Station
Closed: Dec. 21 – Jan. 9
2. Nakamura Tokichi Honten
Nakamura Tokichi is a famous manufacturer of tea in Uji. At their main Honten store and cafe, they also offer a tea ceremony experience. There are three time slots each day, starting at 10:30, 13:30, and 15:30. The teahouse in which classes are hosted stays true to the tea ceremony’s roots and is a rare example of a Genroku-style tea hut.
Access: 2 minute walk from Uji Station
Closed: January 1, 9, 16, 23, 30
3. Fukujuen Ujicha Kobo
Besides being a flagship tea store in Kyoto, Fukujuen Ujicha Kobo also houses the traditional Japanese tea ceremony. You can learn the process of making and serving matcha, and enjoy the green tea with traditional Kyoto confections.
Access: 10 minute walk from Uji Station
4. Mitsuboshien Kambayashi Honten
This historic tea store also provides tea ceremony experience to its customers. You’ll be taught how to prepare your own matcha using the traditional tools and techniques. Japanese sweets will be provided as part of your experience.
Access: 6 minute walk from Uji Station
- ¥1100/person (advanced reservation)
- ¥1320/person (day-of reservation)
5. Takumi no Yakata
This is a tea experience organized by the Chamber of Kyoto Prefecture. It sits nearby popular tourist spots the Byodoin Temple and The Tale of Genji Museum, making it a great place to stop in and relax after sightseeing. English-speaking staff will guide you through the process of brewing the perfect cup of tea, whether you’re interested in matcha, sencha, or another type of tea. Please note that this differs from a traditional tea ceremony experience.
Access: 5 minute walk from Byodoin Temple
Closed: Wednesday and New Year holidays
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A delightful tea session at Takumi-no Yakata, with certified tea instructors who give step-by-step instructions on how to brew tea. Presented with a choice of 3 teas, I went for the gyokuro, a type of green tea grown under the shade and having a mild umami taste. It was definitely a unique tea and I had never had anything like that before. Brewed in a shiboridashi at a milder temperature, the flavour was something to behold. Another interesting thing about the gyokuro is that I could eat the raw tea leaves after I was done with my tea drinking, mixing it with ponzu sauce first. The umami and slightly tart flavour was a refreshing end to my tea drinking. A got the sencha, the green tea, and this sencha was one of the better ones I’ve had. So lovely. The tea sets came with sweets to complete the experience. Highly recommended if you’re stopping by Uji!
Nestled between Nara and Kyoto, Uji is a popular place for tourists to enjoy traditional Japanese shrines and temples. However, over the centuries, Uji has become famous for its tea cultivation. During a visit to the city, unwind from sightseeing by stopping in at a teahouse, experiencing the Japanese tea ceremony, and indulging in the best matcha in the country. If you’re interested in a more intimate tea ceremony experience in a local’s home, we recommend exploring airKitchen tea ceremony experiences in Kyoto here.