2011/09/30

KYO: Ippodo Tea Co.

Ippodo Tea Co.


I basically prefer coffee. When I stroll around Kyoto, I always take a break at coffee shop. However, in this summer, I had two opportunities to enjoy this Ippodo Tea Co. to admire varieties of green teas in Japan. When the clients visit Japan, we usually tend to recommend “Tea Ceremony”. I believe that it would be a wonderful experience for them, but here, we can enjoy more casually, even you do not have much time. It is located in the teramachi street, and this area is a little bit north than Kyoto City Hall. It is not exactly in the city center, but if you come to this area, you will be able to see hidden and interesting shops for shoes, used books, antiques, Asian items, chic restaurants or café, and so on.

Ippodo started 1717, as “Omiya” by Ihei Watanabe, a merchant from Omi (Shiga prefecture). In 1846, Omiya is honored the name of “Ippodo”, which means “To concentrate on keeping only teas”. From that time, Ippodo has kept introducing and selling only Japanese teas, with sincerity.

In this shop, there is a café called “Kaboku”, taken from a name of tea. We can experience the  techniques for brewing the different types of green tea. Green tea is roughly graded into three categories depending on the quality of the leaf: refined (Gyokuro), medium (Sencha), and coarse(Bancha). The refined one is called Gyokuro. Probably, you will have some chances to have Maccha or Sencha, so I would recommend you to have “Gyokuro”. Or, if you visit there with your friends, it would be nice to see the different kinds of teas, since the temperature and the waiting time are different.

If you are interested in learning more about green tea, it is also great to join a workshop held also here. Small Japan will be happy to arrange it in the future.

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When you try it, I would like to suggest these;
-      To try “Gyokuro”, it is no more a thirst-quenching drink, you will stand at the entrance of the world of Japanese tea.
-      To see carefully the teas sold in this shop. Compare the color, and ask the difference to the shop staff.