History of Japanese Tea

It’s been said that good tea was made between the South of China, Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia, the subtropical zone, from about 6000 years ago.

According to the oldest documents about Japanese tea, two Buddhist priests, Saicho and Kukai, went to China 1200 years ago, and brought tea seeds as a souvenir. The tea was though of very precious goods and the aristocrats had it as great medicine.
About 800 years ago, after a Buddhist priest named Eisai brought some tea tree from China and tea expanded all over the Samurai society. The book written by him, ”Kissa-Yojoki” (beneffits of tea) had an interesting episode about a Shogun (the top of Samurai) Minamoto no Sanetomo who recovered from hangover thanks to tea.

About 600 years ago, a Shogun Ashikaga Yoshimasa devoted himself to tea ceremony and contribute to development it into an Japanese art.
About 500 years ago, in the Warring States period in Japan, tea has changed into luxury item from as medicine, Murata Juko, Takeno Jouou and Sen no Rikyu made it WABI-CHA (new type of manners). This is the beginning of what is Japanese tea ceremony.

Eisai (1141-1215)

Image:Eisai (1141-1215)


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