Going to Japan, tea recommendations?

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Going to Japan, tea recommendations?

Postby DangerInRed » May 20th, '08, 23:23

Wasn't sure where to put this, as it can span all kinds of tea.

I'm going to Japan at the beginning of June, and really want to use that opportunity to bring back some Japanese teas, ones I wouldn't be able to get easily in the US.

I don't really know where to start, or where I should look and what I should look for. Does anyone have any recommendations of things or brands or anything I should try to get?

EDIT by Chip: to get the most play on this, I am moving it to green tea, leaving a "shadow topic" under other.

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Postby scruffmcgruff » May 20th, '08, 23:44

Something from the Tsuen tea shop is all I can think of. What say all the Japanese tea freaks out there?

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Postby fencerdenoctum » May 21st, '08, 01:05

Someone on this forum hates you now, but I won't say who.


I kid, I kid. You should drop in on Ippodo tea shop. While they do have a strong online presence, I hear they have a killer tea room.

Have a great trip!

The Tea Sipping Swordsman,
Fencerdenoctum

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Postby PolyhymnianMuse » May 21st, '08, 01:08

Try to shop around for tea from smaller, more local tea farms. I can't imagine all the tea produced in japan that we just don't get the chance to purchase online...

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Postby Chip » May 21st, '08, 02:36

I echo...you gotta go to Tsuen, 29 generations in the same family, 700 plus years. This is a must see. Ippodo is a distant second. There is an inner circle of Tea Houses that basically are the history of tea houses in Japan, they have all been around for hundreds of years.

Shoot, walk into any food market and check out the tea, how cool is that.

Joelle, I hope you have the trip of a lifetime!

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Postby bambooforest » May 21st, '08, 11:59

Chip wrote:
Shoot, walk into any food market and check out the tea, how cool is that.



I echo Chip's contention. Because, I think it's ultra cool! I hope you have a magnificent trip in Japan. Also, don't forget to take plenty of pictures ;-)

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Postby Buzz Fledderjohn » May 21st, '08, 12:42

I guess the big question is, what part(s) of Japan are you going to be in?

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Postby tenuki » May 21st, '08, 13:02

They don't make any good tea in Japan, and although they do sell subpar teaware it is usually overpriced.

:twisted:


(joke, I'm so jealous)

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Postby inspectoring » May 21st, '08, 18:04

i have a serious suggestion - TAKE ME WITH YOU !!

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Postby Salsero » May 21st, '08, 19:32

... and me

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Re: Going to Japan, tea recommendations?

Postby joelbct » May 21st, '08, 23:06

DangerInRed wrote:Wasn't sure where to put this, as it can span all kinds of tea.

I'm going to Japan at the beginning of June, and really want to use that opportunity to bring back some Japanese teas, ones I wouldn't be able to get easily in the US.

I don't really know where to start, or where I should look and what I should look for. Does anyone have any recommendations of things or brands or anything I should try to get?


Recommendation #1: Take me with you.

I'll be your tea-guide, I think it's a fair exchange ;)


On a serious note, Ippodo:

Teramichi-dori Nijo Nakagyo-ku
Kyoto Japan 604-0915

And I don't know, just snooping around for teaware and tea might be fun, who knows what you could encounter. Perhaps try to attend a Chanoyu tea ceremony as well, or at least visit a teahouse and tea garden.

What area will you be in? I can give you names of teahouses in particular areas- most of them appear to be in Kyoto.

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Postby greenisgood » May 21st, '08, 23:58

I just was in Japan this March in the Kyoto area and though I'm still kind of a noob-face to Japanese tea, I still felt like I was kind of on a mini tea pilgrimage.

I only made a point to go to Tsuen's and Ippodo (trying not to be too nerdy as I was traveling with non-tea-drinkers) but also found a lot of random places that were really cool. Tsuen's was really amazing, and Uji in general has SO many tea shops, along the river they're everywhere. I probably had my best pot of tea in Japan at Ippodo. Even though I'm a stupid, arrogant American who knew very minimal Japanese, a very nice woman at Ippodo served my tea and walked me through how to brew it which was really cool, they just give you a big airpot full of boiling water, a stopwatch, some cups and a kyusu with a Lot of tea and let you run the show. I also found a lot of random cool little shops that would often give you free sample cups of sencha, gyokuro, karigane, etc.

One thing I'd reccommend if you want to buy a lot of tea would be to learn a few tea words and phrases in Japanese. It's kind of intimidating and embarassing to go to a place like Tsuen where they expect Americans like me to be only looking for matcha ice cream and me not knowing any Japanese...I ended up getting a mid-priced mystery sencha and something I pointed to and asked "karigane?" I'm sure it's all good tea but like the most I could get in English was "more bitter" "more sweet" "very good". It would've been nice to be able to say like "Do you have fukamushi sencha?" or "What's a good beginner gyokuro?"

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Postby chamekke » May 22nd, '08, 00:44

greenisgood wrote:One thing I'd reccommend if you want to buy a lot of tea would be to learn a few tea words and phrases in Japanese. It's kind of intimidating and embarassing to go to a place like Tsuen where they expect Americans like me to be only looking for matcha ice cream and me not knowing any Japanese...I ended up getting a mid-priced mystery sencha and something I pointed to and asked "karigane?" I'm sure it's all good tea but like the most I could get in English was "more bitter" "more sweet" "very good". It would've been nice to be able to say like "Do you have fukamushi sencha?" or "What's a good beginner gyokuro?"


Maybe we should consider starting (and sticky-ing) a thread for exactly this. It would be handy for anyone going to Japan, and even for some situations here at home.

My Japanese is pretty pitiful, but "Do you have fukamushi sencha" would be "Fukamushi sencha wa arimasu ka?" and I think "What's a good beginner gyokuro" would be something like "Hajime no oishii gyokuro wa nan desu ka?"

As for the others, my dictionary claims:

"More bitter" - Motto nigai
"More sweet" - Motto amai
"Very good" - Totemo oishii (or, Taihen oishii).

"Oishii" means tasty or delicious. You'll hear (and use) it a lot...

I know that other people here can read/write Japanese better than I can, so I hope they'll correct my mistakes!

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Postby DangerInRed » May 22nd, '08, 14:36

Thanks for all of the suggestions (and offers to join me, although I doubt I'd have room in my suitcase for more than one small person...)!

I think I'm going to be mostly around Tokyo. No Kyoto this time, although the study abroad program at my school to Japan is in Hikone, which is near Kyoto, so I may be able to go some time in the future.

Looking through my program schedule, we're going to be in Nagano, Kamikochi, Takayama, Nagoya, and a bunch of other places in the Tokyo area, of which I'm not sure yet.


I know some Japanese, but I think I agree with learning more descriptive words! And also writing down the names of those Japanese greens.

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Postby joelbct » May 22nd, '08, 19:58

DangerInRed wrote:Looking through my program schedule, we're going to be in Nagano, Kamikochi, Takayama, Nagoya, and a bunch of other places in the Tokyo area, of which I'm not sure yet.


You could try to get the monks to let you into Denpo-in Temple. It is mostly off-limit to the general public but I hear the monks are sometimes happy to show people around the gardens, which are supposedly very beautiful.

The teahouse on the grounds is called Tenyu-an, "was built by a devotee from Nagoya and was transferred twice before it found its final home in the Senso-ji, in Asakusa, Tokyo. It was styled after the Fushin-an, a tea house owned by the Omotosenke School of Kyoto, and is one of the oldest replica of the Fushin-an in existence today." (This is a Chado teahouse, as opposed to a regular tea shop)

If you don't have luck there, Senso-ji Temple is next door. I am not sure whether they have a tea house but it is surely worth visiting.

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