- Main lore areas
Kyoto City, Yamashiro area
- Main ingredients used
Uji green tea, Ogura-an (sweet bean paste), ice, etc.
- History/origin/related events
Uji tea is one of Japan's representative high-grade teas, and its cultivation began in 1191 when Zen monk Eisai brought back tea seeds from the sect of Zen Buddhism, and priest Meie sowed them in Toganoo, Ukyo-ku, Kyoto City. During the reigns of Ashikaga Yoshimitsu and Yoshimasa, tea cultivation was encouraged and tea gardens were opened in Uji City. As the custom of tea drinking spread, Uji tea became a first-class product used as a gift. People also enjoyed "tea fighting," in which they would try to guess where the tea was grown. The "chanoyu," or the appreciation of tea utensils and decorations for the tea ceremony, was born and spread to the masses. In the mid-Edo period, the "Uji method" was established by Nagatani Soen. This method involved rubbing steamed tea sprouts over a roasting furnace and then drying them. Tea made using this method became popular in Edo (Tokyo) and was well known throughout the country.
Today, Uji City, Wazuka Town, Minamiyamashiro Village, and other areas in the Yamashiro region of southern Kyoto Prefecture, as well as the Nakatan and Tango regions, are the main tea-producing areas.
There are various types of Uji tea. There are sencha, made by steaming and rubbing sprouts grown in the open air; gyokuro, made by covering the sprouts to prevent direct sunlight; tencha, made by avoiding direct sunlight like gyokuro and not rubbing the steamed leaves; and matcha, a powdered form of tencha.
Uji matcha is the highest grade of tea, and is also used to make ice cream and ice cream. Uji Kintoki, shaved ice topped with Ogura-an (sweet bean paste) and matcha syrup, is a classic matcha-based sweet. It is served at cafes and tea stores in Kyoto City and other parts of the prefecture.
- Opportunities and times of eating habits
It is sold year-round at cafes, restaurants, and other eateries, but is preferred in summer. Matcha syrup made with Uji tea is sold at Uji tea specialty stores in Kyoto.
- How to eat
Shaved ice is served in a bowl and topped with sweet bean paste and green tea syrup. In restaurants, shaved ice is often arranged in a parfait-like style with a gorgeous arrangement of shiratama (white rice balls), ice cream, and green tea jelly.
- Efforts for Preservation and Succession
It is served at restaurants in sightseeing spots in Kyoto Prefecture and in southern Kyoto, such as Uji City, which is close to the production area. Although there are many restaurants nationwide that offer this product, in many cases, they do not use Uji tea. Uji Kintoki," which uses Uji tea, is offered at Uji tea specialty stores and roadside stations in Kyoto.