Between Kyoto and Nara lies one of Japan’s most famous tea regions: Uji. Situated along the banks of the Uji river, some of the first tea seeds brought from China by Buddhist monk Eisai in 1191 ended up here. Tea flourished with support from Shogun Minamoto-no-Sanetomo and Uji’s reputation for fine tea continues today. Uji is most well known for producing fine matcha. Kyoto was the former capital of Japan and Tea ceremony and culture has deep roots there.  Uji was close enough to easily serve the populations tea needs. Micro climate and soil are also optimal for tea growing. “… located in a valley, part of the Yamashiro (or Kyoto) Basin, in the eastern part of the mountainous region known as the Tamba highlands. The Yamashiro Basin is surrounded on three sides by mountains known as Higashiyama, Kitayama and Nishiyama, with a height just above 1,000 metres (3,281 ft) above sea level. This interior positioning results in hot summers and cold winters.” (Wikipedia). The majority of Uji’s non matcha teas are lightly steamed in the Asamushi style. Large uniform tea leaves lead to a clear liquor that is much more golden then green (deeper steaming leads to smaller particles which in turn make the brewed tea much greener). Some Japanese refer to Uji tea as Golden Tea. I find Uji tea to have a great nose with plenty of aroma, but not as sweet as other teas.

Above is a video of Uji sencha being hand picked.

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