KORO-GAKI, THE PERSIMMON’S SWEETNESS IS ENHANCED BY EXPOSURE TO COLD WINDS
Koro-gaki, which goes well with Uji matcha, has been loved as a tea confectionery and a good luck charm for the New Year, and has been deeply connected with Uji’s tea culture. Also known as “koromusubaki” or “koro-kaki,” koro-gaki is made from a small astringent persimmon called “tsurunoko-gaki” that dries easily. Produced in winter, the persimmon’s sweetness is enhanced by exposure to cold winds. It is sold mainly from mid-December to about January of the following year, and can be purchased at JA, local tea shops, and supermarkets. If eaten before drinking alcohol, they are said to help prevent a bad taste or hangover.
TEA FARM’S TRADITIONAL MEAL “CHAJIRU”
“Chajiru” has been handed down from generation to generation by tea farmers as a meal that can be easily eaten outdoors. It is a kind of chazuke (rice with vegetables and dried fish, topped with sencha green tea), but the seasoning and ingredients vary from household to household. It has been recognized as a “100-year food” by the Agency for Cultural Affairs as a “local cuisine that has continued since the Edo period.” In Uji-Tawaracho, this chajiru is used in school lunches as part of efforts to convey the local food culture.
UJI TEA —THE THREE TYPES OF TEA PRODUCED IN THIS REGION—
Three types of tea leaves are grown in Uji in the Yamashiro area of Kyoto: Uji matcha, Uji gyokuro, and Uji sencha. Uji matcha is made by grinding dried tea leaves into a powder using a stone mortar, etc. It has a rich aroma, little bitterness, and a subtle sweetness. Uji gyokuro is famous as a top-grade tea with a rich aroma and strong flavor. Uji sencha combines a refreshing aroma with a pleasant astringency, and is the most widely consumed of the three tea varieties.
EXPERIENCE NATURE IN A FARM GUEST HOUSE
In the Yamashiro area, visitors can experience agriculture, forestry, and fishing in the guest rooms of farmers’ homes. In addition to experiencing agriculture, forestry, and fishing, each guest house has its own special features, such as enjoying delicious homemade tea, original guest house cuisine, pottery making, green tea art, and tea incense dressing. These hands-on accommodations allow visitors to learn about the lives of the people of this region amidst beautiful nature and scenery.
UJI TEA EXPERIENCE
There are both public and private courses in and around Uji City where you can experience a variety of tea-related activities, from tea picking to tasting, grinding stone mills, and making matcha and sencha green tea. Whether you want to learn about tea production methods, tea making, or the spirit and culture of tea, enjoy a tea experience unique to Uji City, the city of tea.
THE ISHITERA TEA FIELDS IN WAZUKA, A DESIGNATED HERITAGE SITE
The Yamashiro region of Kyoto Prefecture, which boasts approximately 40% of the prefecture’s tea production, is famous for producing Uji tea, a premium brand of Japanese tea, and the valleys and hills in this region are covered with vast “tea fields.” The “tea fields of Ishidera” have been designated as Kyoto Prefecture’s scenic asset No. 1, and have also been recognized as a Japan Heritage site, and can be said to be the “original landscape of tea fields” that always appears in various tea discussions.
THE ZEN TEMPLE MANPUKUJI ON MOUNT OBAKU
Numerous temples and shrines attest to the region’s long history, including Manpukuji—a Chinese-style Zen temple founded by the monk Ingen, who is often called the father of sencha. With generations of tea culture everywhere in evidence, a walk through Uji’s landscape can aptly be called “a walk through 800 years of tea history.” Across the Uji region, the history and culture of tea production have shaped the natural setting. The land is divided into tea fields, tea factories, and wholesaler districts, each with a distinctive character. The fields themselves form sweeping, verdant vistas that curve across the foothills.