Ippodo tea store - fine tea in a traditional setting.

The Ippodo tea company is well known for its high quality teas which it has been selling for over 300 years. The Ippodo tea shop is located in the heart of old Kyoto and offers visitors a glimpse into how the tea shops of old used to look as well as offering a wide selection of teas to sample in the in-store tea room.
The exterior still looks like shops must have done in the Edo period ( minus the traffic signs!) and the interior is calm and simple with dark wood cabinets showcasing its products and large tea canisters lined up against one wall. The staff are friendly and attentive, offering advice on suitable teas to buy.
The in-store tea room "Kaboku" is an experience not to be missed. Visitors choose from a select menu and then receive a mini lecture on how to get the best possible taste from the tea, including water temperatures and brewing times. Note the strategically placed clock with minute hand, essential if one is to get the timing exactly right. It's amazing what a difference a few minutes can make to the bitterness/sweetness ratio. We were also surprised at the amount of tea used for just one person, 10g per pot (the minimum amount deemed necessary to get the taste just right).
Pictured is the matcha set. Seasonal sweets are eaten first ( pictured in the foreground is a cherry blossom petal shaped sweet and in the background a buckwheat bun filled with sweet bean paste).

Visitors then whisk up their own matcha under the watchful eye of the staff. This is followed by another cup of tea of one's own choice. the list includes sencha, hojicha, genmaicha etc.

Leaflets in Japanese and English with details of the correct tea-making procedures are provided to help you recapture the experience at a later date.

All in all very calm, soothing and informative. Visitors leave the tea-room feeling refreshed and ready to set out into the streets of Kyoto for further adventures, but not without stopping in the store first to peruse the attractive array of tins and boxes and buy a little souvenir of their trip !

Artistic Nippon by Yoshikawa Toki Co. [Home]