Tuesday, 19 June 2012
Indulge yourself at Tokichi, with Uji's world famous tea for the modern tea drinker
Uji, bordering on the southern edges of Kyoto, is a great city to spend a whole day. The mountains surrounding Uji and the Uji river allow for great views when taking a stroll. The city knows numerous historic sites, including many Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines worth a visit. Uji is therefore, understandably, the subject of a very famous historic tale, 'the tale of Genji'. A book from the early 11th century considered the world's oldest novel. The last ten chapters of the famous tale unravel themselves in the city along the Uji river.
Uji is not only famous because of the oldest novel in the world, but has also been famous for it's green tea for centuries. The Tsuen tea shop is around since 1160 and is probably the oldest tea shop in Japan, maybe the world. Tea shop Tokichi has 'only' been around for 150 years. With their wonderful tea room at Tokichi Honten (headquaters) the family caters for the modern tea drinker. When they opened this wonderful café in 2001 they wanted to 'match tradition with innovation'. While the building is constructed with the same methods used for a Meiji-Taisho era tea manufacturing factories, it has a modern feel to it. With the tea room Tokichi aims for an 'adaptation to the modern lifestyle'. And a wonderful adaptation that is. Just pass through the tea shop, and you'll find an oasis of green set back from the street. Tokichi café is graced with an actual terrace to offer even greater enjoyment of the Japanese style garden. The black pine that almost covers the complete grounds of the garden is over 200 years old and even has a name, "Horai Funamatsu". The pine is 6 meters high and 12 meters long and shaped like a sailing boat. It was planted wishing for the family's lasting prosperity.
Apart form a great view while sipping your tea, Tokichi offers great way's to indulge on your inner sweet tooth. Ice cream and cakes, combined with fresh fruit and sweets are on the menu in different combinations. A cold green matcha to match and you'll spend a wonderful hour, and maybe a half, just to savour the moment.
Tokichi also have a tea room at the Uji river, so instead of a garden, you can enjoy the famous river from the Tale of Genji when enjoying real Uji green tea!