Fukujuen Ujicha Kobo Fukuju Saryo
10 Yamada Uji, Uji 611-0021, Kyoto Prefecture
Authentic Tea Experience near Byodo-in TempleFukujuen Ujicha is located a beautiful 10 minute walk from Byodo-in Temple, on the other side of the Uji River. Fukujuen offers a number of tea-related experiences, including lunch. Make sure to book ahead of time (+81 774-20-1100) to request an english speaking teacher.
We started our Fukujuen experience with an introduction to Gyokuro, the highest grade Japanese tea. It is grown in shade, to avoid direct sunlight, which gives it a unique sweetness. It was interesting to observe how it changed its flavor from the initial hot brew to rebrewing the leaves at a lowered temperature. We were given a speacial set of cups, designed to bring down the temperature of the water to be just right for the various stages of tea making. As a surprise, we were told to eat the leaves at the end–they were delicious!
Next, we settled into a different room, to learn to make our very own Matcha by first grinding dried Tencha tea leaves into a fine powder. We slowly turned our Matcha mills for about 15 minutes, which gave us just enough powder for a single, well-deserved cup of Matcha. The powder is then whisked quickly into the hot water until a froth forms, that enhances the taste.
Lastly, we settled into the restaurant, for a tea-inspired, tea-infused, tea-paired lunch, that incorporated four kinds of Uji teas (Gyokuro, Sencha, Houjicha and Tencha). On the menu: seasonal fish and vegetables with Matcha flavored miso (soybean paste), friend potato dumplings with Matcha sauce, rice balls with Gyokuro tea, along with Japanese tea Tsukudani (tea boiled in sweet soy sauce). To round it all off, Matcha ice cream for desert.
Time spend at Fukujuen Ujicha slows down your travel in a beautiful way. The care and detail that goes into every 'lesson' and 'experience' is exceptional. Enjoy!
Note on the side: this is probably one of the best place to buy quality teas to bring home with you.
My warmest thank you – domo arigato gozai masu – to the @SuntoryGlobal team, who went above and beyond, introducing me to Japan's food and drink culture. I'm forever in your debt. #SuntoryTime #SuntoryTimeTour