Today I was pretty excited as I was headed out to some matcha (green tea) fields!
First port of call was for me to get to Uji station where I would be meeting the others.
I arrived at Uji station in the morning, we were due to meet at midday but I thought it would be nice to have a bit of time to get to know the area and look around. Also time for a quick Family Mart coffee and snack first.
I met everyone at the station and we hopped onto a bus bound for a location outside of Uji, about a 20 minute stop.
On the bus we had a few little treats and snacks, one of which was these really cute tiny bars of chocolate.
The chocolate was great, and the fact the bits were in tiny little blocks was both funny and cute.
The bus ride was pretty fun, it was mostly filled with chatting and joking around, out the windows it was nice to see rural Japan pass by, we passed fields, small houses, a wind farm and various small buildings, 20 minutes later we where dropped off at just a small petrol station in the middle of nowhere.
From here we were meet by some employees of the tea farm who had driven their cars to meet us, we then drove another 5 minutes up some smaller lanes before finally arriving at the very remote tea farm!
From where the cars stopped we had a short walk up a really steep hill along a loose dirt track, at the top lay rows and rows of tea plants! It was a really amazing sight to see!
We were given a tour around the fields and as we went the workers explained the process and how things worked, I could understand a little of what they were saying, but I also had someone help me translate a few things. Halfway around the fields we were given the chance to plant our own tea!! I can’t describe how satisfying it was to do! Planting green tea in Japan is something I never thought I would cross off the list!
As well as planting the tea, I had to cut the plants down of a few steams as this helped with their water retention. I finished planting all of the ones in my patch, watered them and planted a sign with my name signed in hiragana along with the date. I am told they will be ready in one year, and I will have the chance to go back and harvest them, then drink the tea I planted!!
After the tea planning we were led back down the step incline to some tables that had been setup with some samples of a selection of green tea. We were given the chance to make and brew our own pots first, the idea to see if we know how much water to put in and how long to let the pot brew for. The tea I brewed tasted ok, however an expert then showed us correctly, and it turns out the water should start at 80 degrees, it then looses 10 degrees and drops to 70 degress in the pot, you should then cover it and wait 2 minutes.
After a few rounds of tea and a few different types, we were then served a green tea pudding, this was so elegant and delicious I can’t do the description justice with my words!
After a bit of relaxation time it was time to head off, we said goodbye and thanked the owner and workers, we were then driven back to meet the bus where we were dropped off. The bus back got caught in traffic, but it didn’t matter as the journey was mostly joking around again.
After this we headed off grab some dinner at an Italian place, I had a seafood doria, which I’d never heard of before, and I’m sure isn’t Italian, but maybe a Japanese hybrid, as it was a flavoured rice covered in a cream cheese sauce with seafood in. Really delicious and filling either way!
I then learnt that it’s bad to offer to pay for everyone in Japan! I went to pay saying my treat, but was told this is actually not a good thing to do in Japan! So keep that in mind!
After being filled with food we headed out for a nice evening walk around the area, shrines and temples were now closed, but the river are in Uji still had plenty to offer, lots of great bridges with the fast flowing water below. It was a really special scene.
After aimlessly walking around in the low light of the evening we eventually headed back to Kyoto along the JR Nara line. The train we caught was the local stopping at all stations, but again the longer journey time was fun as we had a chance just to talk and lark around for a bit.
All in all another stunning day in Japan! I really love it here and don’t want to leave!