History of Uji and Matcha
Uji (宇治) is a city in Japan, located between the cities of Kyoto and Nara, two of Japan’s most famous historical and cultural centers. Its proximity to these cities resulted in its early development as a cultural center in its own right. Byodoin Temple and Ujigami Shrine (Japan’s oldest extant shrine) are famous buildings––also tourist landmarks––constructed in Uji back in the 12th century.
Uji is also a city that has risen to stardom since the 12th century as Japan's most treasured and ideal land for tea planting. What we now know as ‘matcha’ is a form of green tea crushed into powder. It was believed that the first green tea seeds were brought to Japan from China by Zen Monk Eisai in the 12th century, who planted them and did research in Kozanji Temple in Kyoto.
Through centuries of perfecting process, preservation, and fertilization techniques, Uji currently produces the world’s highest quality matcha. Its mellow and smooth taste is favoured by many, and has since been used in many tea ceremonies. It is known to stimulate the presence of mind, mental alertness, and a calm, meditative state. Matcha has also gradually been used as a flavour and dye in many desserts and pastries in the modern centuries.