Uogashi Meicha, Ginza
For all you tea lovers out there, I’d like to introduce you to a cute little tea shop featured on NHK in Ginza, Uogashi Meicha. While the cafe specializes in Japanese green teas, they also hold small tea ceremony workshops once a month. The cafe is split into 3 levels. The first level is the tea shop, which features a variety of high quality teas. The second is a tea cafe for the shop’s patrons, while the top floor is where the workshops are held. We were lucky enough to visit the day the cafe was putting on a free workshop for its visitors.
The workshop had a unique concept. We were free to brew and mix the matcha or a special type of Japanese green tea ourselves, and instead of drinking what I brewed, I was to give my tea to the person who came before me to drink (whether that be a stranger or an acquaintance). They would then drink my tea accompanied with adorable little tea chocolates given by the cafe, while I waited for the person behind me to brew my tea. It wasn’t a strict traditional ceremony, but more of an informal gathering, so luckily we weren’t required to follow all the intricate mannerisms and customs of the Japanese tea ceremony. It was a nice opportunity to experience matcha mixing and tasting. It’s also perfect for those traveling alone too, because it allows you to interact with different people you would otherwise never meet!
After the workshop, we were invited to the second floor cafe to relax and taste more of the teas they had to offer. I think they must’ve served us at least 4 cups of tea (2 cold and 2 hot) along with Azuki bean Yokan (a traditional Japanese jelly dessert)! I was all tea-ed out by the end! Despite the slight overdoes on caffeine, it was overall a very lovely experience. The last time I had been to a Japanese tea ceremony was in high school, and it was a very traditional one, so this was a nice casual way to appreciate Japanese tea again. Plus, the whole experience was free (although we did end up buying a bag of tea on the way out)!