Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Japan - Kyoto's Ippodo Tea Store

A few months ago, I did a post on Mariage Frères, a great Parisian tea store dating from 1854. Ippodo, in Kyoto, has that beat by more than a century. Ippodo dates back to the year 1717, when founder Ihei Watanabe established a tea shop called OMIYA at Teramachi Nijo, just south of the Imperial Palace. It is still there, and still sells some of the best tea available in a picturesque setting: matcha, the ground tea used in the Japanese tea ceremony; gyokuro, a rich and mellow green tea; sencha, which Japanese drink several times a day; and bancha, coarse-leaf teas (including yanagi, hojicha and genmaicha).

While the people at the shop don't speak English, they have English materials - instructions and order forms, and a bilingual web site, at

Bobby Jay

1 comment:

Randy said...

I love visiting Ippodo tea stalls in department store food halls (generally one or two floors in the basement). I'm enjoying some delicious tea brought back from the Ippodo store in the SOGO department store in Hiroshima last month.

However, since Ippodo sells pre-packaged tea, competing stalls are more likely to make samples for you to try, which is an excellent way to choose, and also a very fun experience.