Spring Journey in Japan

Spring Journey in Japan

My last tea trip was autumn of 2019 in Shizuoka and Kyoto, Japan. After three years of unclear directions due to the ever-changing nature of the pandemic, my family and I hopped on the plane for the first time and spent two weeks in the land of the rising sun. We traversed the central area going into Nagoya, Osaka, Fukui, Shimane, and back to Kyoto and Nara before flying out. I came home filled with gratitude for the chance to come back and enjoy the things I love. 

This entry will of course, focus on Tea-related activities and the highlights of the trip. That would be our second to the last leg of our trip where we visited my long-time supplier based in Izumo, Shimane, Japan. It has a wonderful nature scenery and you can feel a pervading sense of calm because of the abundant lush forests and its expansive body of  freshwater, Lake Shinji. All those elements combined brought us to a completely relaxed state. 

Our host, company president Mr Yuta Oka first treated us to a tea tasting session with Gyokuro and Matcha. These variants are available on the shop soon!

Next stop was a factory tour where we were shown the step-by-step processing of Sencha and Matcha. Sencha's harvest will be in the next two weeks so they are undergoing maintenance and clean-up at this time to prepare for it. The farm goes through three harvest seasons- spring, summer, and autumn and during the harvest, the machines work 24/7 for over a month. 

Tencha is the raw material used for matcha. It is a completely different material and processing methods from sencha. Here I grabbed a handful of tencha and the aroma wafting through the bag was simply exquisite it would make a very expensive perfume. 

After the tea tasting and factory tour, we went to three of their gardens separated by cultivar type: Saemidori, Okumidori, and Yabukita. This garden is the source material for tencha and gyokuro. 

Mr Oka and his COO Mr Matsui were kind enough to bring us to the Izumo-Taisha (Grand Shrine of Izumo) to pray for our loved ones and onward journeys. 

We ended the tour with a lovely matcha-houjicha ice cream at one of their customer's shop.

 These young, experimental and exploratory Japanese Tea masters are going to change Japan's tea landscapes. Mr Oka is presently the No. 1 Tea Master in all of Japan. I am honoured to have crossed paths with them and grateful as always for the fate that led us to each other. 

Another highlight of my trip was finally meeting a 20th-generation Chasen artist, Mr Tanimura Tango whose family has been making tea implements made of bamboo for the past 500 years dating back to Sen no Rikyu's establishment of the Chadō. He was gracious and generous enough to receive me even though I was by my lonesome and watch him demonstrate how to make the Chasen or bamboo whisk. You can also request a visit through here and purchase his works directly from him. I started using his chasen and chashaku in 2018 and I have not looked at anyone else's. His pieces are extremely light, when you whisk the tines disappear, there is only the 'whisking' and the froth it makes, it's on another level. A testament to an artist's handiwork. 

Matcha and sweets prepared and offered to me by Tango san during my visit. 

I ended my Japan journey with a full and happy heart. Please watch out for the new products and restocks we have curated to share with you. Thank you all for your patience.










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