HOW TEA CAME TO JAPAN

The Origin Of Matcha And Japanese Tea Ceremony

What is the origin of Matcha, or the Japanese Tea Ceremony? As it turns out, tea took a few seasons to take root in Japan. Today, Japan is a nation of Green tea.

A Spiritual Beginning

Tea began spiritually, as Chinese Buddhist monks had brought tea seeds to Kyoto during the Tang dynasty in 729 A.D. at the invitation of Emperor Shoku. One hundred Buddhist monks from China attended this imperial tea service at his palace.

About 500 years later, in 1191, a Buddhist monk named Eisai returned home from his second trip to China, bringing with him Green tea seeds and a fervent tea-drinking habit that he acquired abroad.

Eisai authored the book “Kissa Yōjōki”, or “Drinking Tea for Health” 喫茶養生記, and was credited as the father of the tea tradition in Japan. As a Buddhist scholar who studied in China, Eisai was savvy and well-versed in Chinese herbal medicine. Keenly aware of tea’s medicinal quality, he promoted drinking Green tea for health, especially for heart health.

chinese tea history How Tea Came to Japan historical image 100 buddhist monks assembly tang dynasty
"Tea is the most wonderful medicine for nourishing one's health; it is the secret of long life." – Eisai
"Tea is the most wonderful medicine for nourishing one's health; it is the secret of long life." – Eisai

Origin of Matcha and Japanese Tea Ceremony

In 1503, Japan adopted the Chinese tradition of Whipped tea, which originated in the Song dynasty (around the 10th century) and named it Matcha. Chanoyu or Cha Do, meaning “The Way of Tea,” was born. Japanese tea master Sen no Rikyū was credited to have taken the aesthetic of Chanoyu to its new height, shaping it into the Japanese Tea Ceremony as we know it today.

According to America’s tea sage James Norwood Pratt, co-author of “The Romance of Tea,” published by Benjamin Press, a Chinese Zen monk named Ingen, who was a Ming loyalist, fled to Japan in 1652. He introduced loose tea and the use of a teapot to steep tea at the Obaku temple in Uji.

Origin of Matcha and Japanese Tea Ceremony

In 1503, Japan adopted the Chinese tradition of Whipped tea, which originated in the Song dynasty (around the 10th century) and named it Matcha. Chanoyu or Cha Do, meaning “The Way of Tea,” was born. Japanese tea master Sen no Rikyū was credited to have taken the aesthetic of Chanoyu to its new height, shaping it into the Japanese Tea Ceremony as we know it today.

According to America’s tea sage James Norwood Pratt, co-author of “The Romance of Tea,” published by Benjamin Press, a Chinese Zen monk named Ingen, who was a Ming loyalist, fled to Japan in 1652. He introduced loose tea and the use of a teapot to steep tea at the Obaku temple in Uji.

Origin Of Japanese Green Tea

A fellow temple monk Baisao (1675-1763) would popularize loose tea and become the famous old tea seller in Kyoto. This steeping method became known as sencha, or “boiled tea” (煎茶). A Green tea, sencha is now the most popular form of tea in Japan, representing 80 percent of all tea produced each year.

Commercial tea cultivation began in the 1600s. Today, Shizuoka Prefecture is the number one producer, and Kagoshima Prefecture ranks second. According to Bruce Richardson, American tea maestro and owner of Elmwood Inn Fine Teas, Japan started exporting tea to America in 1859. By 1890, 40% of America’s tea came from Japan. It was all Green.

Learn more about the tradition of tea-making.

Discover the health benefits of Green tea

Origin Of Japanese Green Tea

A fellow temple monk Baisao (1675-1763) would popularize loose tea and become the famous old tea seller in Kyoto. This steeping method became known as sencha, or “boiled tea” (煎茶). A Green tea, sencha is now the most popular form of tea in Japan, representing 80 percent of all tea produced each year.

Commercial tea cultivation began in the 1600s. Today, Shizuoka Prefecture is the number one producer, and Kagoshima Prefecture ranks second. According to Bruce Richardson, American tea maestro and owner of Elmwood Inn Fine Teas, Japan started exporting tea to America in 1859. By 1890, 40% of America’s tea came from Japan. It was all Green.

Learn more about the tradition of tea-making.

Discover the health benefits of Green tea

Exotica, Fascination, And Romance…

A Love Affair That Brought Wars…

Fuel For The Spirit of Independence

The Crown, The Colony & the Tea Hunter

9-Dragons-Tea-Art Book

DISCOVER THE ART OF TEA

You’ll love our new artbook! A labor of love, this artbook showcases glorious images, taking you on a journey through ancient tea rituals and how these practices bring calmness, mindfulness, and tranquility through the ages.