This Tea Shop in Kyoto Helps You Find the Perfect Tea for You
It also sells beautiful teaware!
295 Higashidaimonji-cho, Nakagyo District, Kyoto
Open from 10:30 a.m. to 8:50 p.m. The store is closed on the 2nd, 12th, and 22nd of every month. If the 7th, 17th, or 27th of the month falls on a weekday, then the store is also closed on those days.
How to get there: It’s a 3-minute walk from Hankyu Kawaramachi Station
Since its establishment in 1803, Horaido Saho has been specializing in Uji tea and has become known as the birthplace of genmaicha (brown rice tea). It is located in a downtown area where lots of people come and go. Visitors of the shop vary from regular customers to tourists looking to buy Uji tea as a Kyoto souvenir.
Yasuhiro Yasumori, the tea shop owner who inherited the business through generations, said, “I like listening to my customers and giving them recommendations on the type of tea that will suit their purpose, taste, and way of drinking.”
After graduating from university, Yasumori went to the Tea Industry Research Division in Uji for training. At that time, he was the first to receive training as a tea shop entrepreneur.
Teramachi Street, where the shop is located in, holds a variety of establishments ranging from long-established specialty stores to the latest trendy shops.
“I think this is a rare shopping street in Japan. There are Buddhist item shops founded around the 1600s and more recently, there have been new shops opening every month. I think when people hear the term “shopping street”, they usually think of the locally-inclined or tourist-inclined types. But this shopping district has it all,” shares Yasumori.
While there are plenty of shops on the street that serve the needs of customers including historical shops, well-established stores, restaurants, and souvenir shops for tourists, Horaido Saho is still visited by different people ranging from locals to travelers.
There are samples of different kinds of tea on the counter such as matcha (green tea), gyokuro (refined green tea), sencha (roasted tea), original genmaicha Horaicha, etc.
A wide variety of tea leaves are available at the store. Sencha alone has eight different kinds and the price range is wide. When choosing your tea, it doesn’t always mean that you should choose the expensive one.
If you compare them, each type of sencha looks slightly different. The appropriate way of brewing them also differs accordingly.
“Even if it’s the same sencha, if you only want to taste a small amount of tea solely, the expensive one is tastier and more delicious. But if you want to drink it while eating rice, you’ll want to get the affordable one, which has a simpler and more bitter taste. Are you going to drink it with a meal, after the meal, or by itself? Would you like to drink it with snacks? Depending on the snack you’re going to eat, the type of tea we’ll recommend that you drink will also differ.”
As much as possible, Yasumori wants to listen to his customers regarding taste, preferences, and even the occasion when the tea will be drunk. Since he knows the characteristics of each type of tea, he can offer his best recommendations based on what he has heard. Feel free to consult with him when buying!
The shop also sells teaware that comes in different shapes and colors.
At Horaido Saho, they sell not only tea leaves but teaware such as teapots, teacups, and iron teapots as well.
“There are many types of teaware and some people don’t know how to choose them. That’s why I started selling them. As a tea shop, we sell good tea. But we also want our customers to drink them from suitable teaware.”
From short teapots to white teacups that highlight the color of the tea, the store’s criteria for selecting teaware is that “the tea must be drunk deliciously” from them.
The building is set to be renovated from October 2019 to March 2020. After mid-January, they will operate at the temporary building located at the back of the shop.
Yasumori wants more people to know that tea isn’t the only thing that can be enjoyed in daily life. One should also experience attending a tea ceremony at least once. During the renovation, a full-scale tea room will be built at the back of the store where people can experience the tea ceremony culture. Note that the store will still be selling in the shop during the renovation period.
Provided by Japan Walker™, Walkerplus™, and Tokyo Walker™ (6 September 2019)