Japan: The Tea Paradise

Japan: The Tea Paradise

Drinking tea is a part of the food culture found in every country. Japan is one of such tea-loving countries. It is not an exaggeration to say that not a day goes by when Japanese people do not drink tea!

There are more than 100 varieties of tea produced in the course of its long history! Some of them are made from vegetables and grains without using tea leaves. Japan is a paradise for tea lovers, where they can enjoy a wide variety of teas anytime and anywhere.

Let's take a closer look at the appeal of the tea that Japanese people love so much.

The History of Tea

Japanese tea culture was first brought to Japan from China around the 8th century. The role of tea at that time was actually for medicinal purposes! Moreover, it was a valuable commodity that was available only to the upper class.

It was not until around the 12th century that tea became popular among the general public. Eisai, a monk and tea evangelist, wrote a book on the appeal of tea, which became a big hit! Later, the game of "tea competition," in which people had to guess the tea's place of origin, and banquets over tea were held, and the entertainment element grew stronger as tea took root in the daily lives of the common people.

Meanwhile, the culture of "chanoyu," the art of entertaining guests with tea, also developed. In Japan, the custom of serving tea to guests is still practiced today, and the culture of "chanoyu" has undoubtedly been passed down from one generation to the next.

As time passed in the 17th century, "sencha" tea became very popular among the general public. Sencha, made using the "Uji method," is said to have captivated people with its bright color, deep flavor, and pleasant aroma, which were not present in tea made using the Chinese method. Sencha is still the standard type of tea today.

When trade activities started booming in the modern era, high-quality Japanese tea became very popular! However, that was short-lived, as the rise of black tea led to a gradual decline in exports. However, thanks in part to its rise, tea is now distributed domestically. It became inexpensive and easily accessible, and gradually took root in the daily lives of Japanese people.

The Types of Tea

There are so many types of tea in Japan that it may be a little confusing for foreigners. However, if you know the different types of tea and their respective characteristics, you should be able to find a tea to your liking! We will now introduce some of the most common teas, so for your reference, take a look below.


Sencha is the most widely consumed type of tea in Japan. Most of the tea served in Japanese restaurants is "Sencha." Its sweetness, bitterness, umami, and tartness are all in perfect balance! It is a taste loved by everyone. When in doubt on which type of tea to drink, pick up a cup of sencha first!

Matcha Tea

Matcha is extremely popular both in Japan and abroad! While most teas are made by steeping tea leaves in hot water, matcha is made by grinding dried tea leaves into a powder and whisking it with hot water to bring out its flavor and also to make it more palatable.

Recently, the culture of not only drinking matcha, but also by eating it has been spreading. In particular, matcha sweets combined with ice cream have created a huge boom, and have become a regular part of the sweets and dessert menu!


"Hojicha" has a refreshing taste with no bitterness. It contains no caffeine and is extremely easy to drink, making it a tea recommended for children, the elderly, and even pregnant women. It is also said to be highly effective in improving your skin, so be sure to give it a try!


"Genmaicha" is made by mixing tea leaves with brown rice roasted at high pressure. In addition to enjoying the fragrant aroma of the brown rice, it is also recommended as a remedy for drowsiness due to its high caffeine content.

The tea is nicknamed "popcorn tea" because you can hear the crackling sound of brown rice popping when you pour boiling water over the tea leaves. The time waiting for the tea to be brewed while listening to the soothing sound is also considered a moment of bliss.

Where can you drink Japanese Tea?

Japanese tea is abundant in variety, but do you know where you can find it in Japan? The answer is... everywhere! Since tea is an essential part of Japanese life, you can find it everywhere.

One of the first is vending machines. If you take a look around in Japan, you will always find a vending machine, so you can easily purchase a bottle of tea. Some of them even have several different kinds of tea in one vending machine! But don't underestimate the value of tea just because it is cheap. You will be surprised at the quality of the tea, which is comparable to that of premium high-quality teas!

Even in restaurants, tea is usually served free of charge as a beverage. But if you go to an inexpensive restaurant such as a conveyor belt sushi or udon restaurant, you will often find that the tea is self-serve.

Also, when visiting temples or gardens, you can enjoy a relaxing cup of tea in a room where you can view the scenery. Incidentally, it is not uncommon for tea and Japanese sweets to be sold as a set at Japanese tourist attractions. Sweet wagashi and refreshing tea go great together! Be sure to give it a try.

Take a Break With a Cup of Tea

In this article, we have introduced the history and types of tea.

Although it was originally introduced from overseas, it is now one of Japan's most popular food culture. However, some people may perhaps feel that the refreshing taste is not enough.... However, every time you drink it, you will get hooked on it, and it is Japanese tea that somehow calms you down. It has such a mysterious appeal that it simply makes you feel happy.