February 16, 2006
by Fumiaki Kai and Akiko Kagawa
Green tea is the most surprising tea in the world. Although, green tea, black tea and oolong tea are basically produced from the same leaves, green tea can boast a number of beneficial effects. It’s also used in a variety of different foods and products such as sweets, snacks, perfume, bedclothes and so on. Uji in the south of Kyoto, is one of the most famous places for green tea in Japan. People say that Uji’s green tea is No.1. Have you ever tasted this attractive tea? We would like to talk about it here.
The main tea that is drunk all over Japan now, is green tea. However, it is fast becoming famous in other countries, too. It is said that green tea came from China in the 9th century, and at that time the color of the tea was brown like oolong tea. Due to it’s lofty status, only professional tea teachers in Uji were permitted to grow green tea at this time.
Effects and Benefits
You can receive a lot of health benefits if you drink green tea, and catechin is the most effective constituent in it. All teas contain this constituent, but green tea has more than its fair share of this high quality ingredient. Catechin is an antibacterial property and prevents oxidation. It is said that this can help protect against diseases like cancer, as well as slow the effects of ageing and adult’s disease. Polyphenol is a kind of catechin, and green tea contains 100 times the amount found in wine, and 50 times that found in cocoa. This makes it very valuable indeed as a health supplement.
As you know, vitamin C is very important for us, and green tea has more than any other tea. Vitamin C is known to be good for preventing freckles, and rough skin caused by a lack of good vitamin C intake. It also works on neutralizing alcohol which means it’s very good for hangovers!
Did you also know that tea can reduce unpleasant odors. If you have a dry tea bag, you can try putting it in your bed or your shoes and wherever else you may want to remove bad odors. Moreover, there is another wonderful effect which helps prevent dental problems. Green tea contains fluorine that helps make teeth strong, and if you eat snacks with your tea, you can avoid dental worries without thinking about it.
Green Tea Goods
There are many products which make wonderful use of green tea as an ingredient.
- lotion— green tea contains a lot of catechin, ferment extract and vitamin C. These elements help tighten the skin and give it a healthy glow.
- soap — this soap is made with a natural dryness and because of this it does not melt easily or produce a lot of foam. It offers excellent moisture retention properties and the long production process gives it real quality.
Green Tea Food Products in Kyoto
As you know, good food is a surefire way to make us happy! There are many kinds of food products that use Uji tea such as rice porridge and buckwheat noodles. So you can enjoy Uji tea at lunch time, too. There is a wide variety of green tea foods available in Kyoto, but some of them contain just a little green tea, or may use only green tea as a colorant. At one shop, Tsujiri, you will not be disappointed, however. Uji tea foods may be a little bitter for some people, but this is real Kyoto style. Whenever you come to Kyoto we suggest going to the famous Uji tea café called “Tsujiri”. This café mainly offers green tea in the form of desserts. They use very high-class Uji tea here and keep their customers happy with many kinds of Japanese style original desserts. The desserts they present are all prepared with the freshest ingredients to maintain the highest standard.
There are three stores in Kyoto:
1. Isetan JR Kyoto Station, 4th Floor.
Business hours 10:00~20:00
2. Nenenomichi Koudaiji Higashiyamaku, Kyoto City
Business hours 11:00~18:00
3. 573-3 Minamigawa Gionnmachi Higashiyamaku, Kyoto City
Business hours 10:00~22:00 (Saturdays, Sundays and Holidays 10:00~21:00)
I especially recommend the third one because it is the head office. You will probably have to queue up to eat green tea sweets here, but if queuing up is not for you, then I suggest you go there right on opening time. Alternatively, you can buy ice cream or green tea goods as a take-out without having to go to the bother of standing in line.