10 Must-Visit Spots For The Best Matcha In Kyoto: A Tastebud Adventure

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Gin Seah is the voice of AAB Kyoto. His journey in Japan began at age 11 in Miyazaki and led him through many cities including Tokyo, Osaka, and Sapporo. It was in Kyoto, rich with history and culture, that he found his second home.
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Craving a taste of Japan’s finest matcha? We’ve scoured Kyoto to bring you the ultimate guide to the city’s top matcha spots. From traditional tea houses steeped in history to trendy cafes serving up innovative matcha creations, we’ve got you covered.

Get ready for a journey through Kyoto’s vibrant matcha scene as we unveil where to find the creamiest lattes, most exquisite desserts, and authentic ceremonial teas.

Whether you’re a matcha aficionado or just dipping your toes into this green wonder, our handpicked selection guarantees an unforgettable culinary adventure. Scroll down for reviews of our top picks, and get ready to indulge in Kyoto’s best-kept matcha secrets.

Key Takeaways

  • Visit Tsujiri Honten in Uji for a traditional matcha experience.
  • Explore the historic Nakamura Tokichi Honten for premium matcha and tea products.
  • Discover the rich heritage of matcha at Ippodo Tea in the Kyoto Main Store.
  • Indulge in a blend of tradition and innovation at Saryo Tsujiri in Gion Outlet.

10 Best Matcha In Kyoto

a traditional Japanese matcha shop in Uji

1. Tsujiri Honten, Uji

Tsujiri Honten in Uji stands out as one of the oldest matcha shops in Kyoto, with a rich history dating back to 1860. This establishment is renowned for its diverse selection of matcha-infused desserts and beverages that cater to every tastebud.

The key highlight of Tsujiri Honten lies in its commitment to providing top-notch quality matcha [1] sourced directly from Uji, known for producing some of the finest grades of green tea in Japan. Visitors can indulge in the authentic aroma and flavor that set their offerings apart.

When you visit Tsujiri Honten, don’t miss the chance to experience a traditional tea ceremony or savor their specialty dango paired with exquisite matcha. This spot not only offers a delightful culinary journey but also serves as an educational opportunity to delve into the world of Japanese tea culture.

In addition to their traditional offerings, Tsujiri Honten also offers a variety of innovative matcha desserts.

Their menu includes items like Uji Matcha Parfait, Matcha Zenzai (Matcha-flavored sweet red-bean soup with pieces of rice cake), Daifuku (soft rice cake stuffed with sweetened bean paste), and Uji Organic Green Powdered Tea. Each dessert is carefully crafted to highlight the unique flavor and aroma of Uji matcha.

The shop operates from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., with last orders taken at 5:00 p.m. It’s a popular spot, so plan your visit accordingly to avoid the rush.

For those planning a trip to Kyoto, including Tsujiri Honten on your itinerary is a must-do activity. It’s not just about tasting exceptional matcha; it’s about immersing yourself in centuries-old traditions and enjoying an unforgettable gastronomic adventure.

2. Nakamura Tokichi Honten

Nakamura Tokichi Honten, founded in 1854, has been a part of the tea industry in Uji, Kyoto, for over 160 years. According to an ancient document titled “Eitai Nikki,” the first generation of Nakamura Tokichi trained under Uji tea master Soi Hoshino and opened “Nakamura Tokichi Shoten” in Uji.

He carried out the tea business by adhering to the family motto of “Chaen Ei Nihonkan” given to him by Katsumi, presenting the tea to His Majesty the Emperor, and receiving a tea name from the master of the tea ceremony.

For generations, they have continued to strive for excellence, to provide truly rich tea. They will continue their never-ending quest to ensure that tea continues to be attractive, both now and in the future.

This establishment is renowned for providing an authentic Japanese tea ceremony experience. They exclusively utilize locally sourced Uji matcha in all their offerings, ensuring top-notch quality and a genuine taste of Kyoto’s traditional flavors.

The teahouse at Nakamura Tokichi Honten boasts a meticulously crafted design that immerses visitors in a tranquil atmosphere. From the elegant decor to the calming ambiance, every detail contributes to a truly remarkable tea-drinking experience.

In addition to the traditional tea ceremony, Nakamura Tokichi Honten also offers a variety of sweets and cafes where you can enjoy special times with Japanese tea. Their menu includes items like “Raw Tea Zeli,” among others.

The shop operates from 10:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., with last orders taken at 4:30 p.m. It’s a popular spot, so plan your visit accordingly to avoid the rush.

This commitment to authenticity and attention to detail make Nakamura Tokichi Honten a must-visit destination for those seeking not just matcha but an entire cultural journey through the art of tea. Whether you are a seasoned matcha enthusiast or new to this exquisite beverage, Nakamura Tokichi Honten promises an unforgettable exploration of Japan’s rich tea heritage.

3. Ippodo Tea, Kyoto Main Store

With over 300 years of history, Ippodo Tea is a highly esteemed tea brand. The store offers various matcha grades catering to different taste preferences. Visitors can participate in educational workshops to learn about the traditional art of making matcha.

Ippodo Tea’s rich legacy in crafting quality teas has made it a must-visit for tea lovers seeking an authentic Japanese tea experience. Whether you are new to matcha or a seasoned enthusiast, the range of options available ensures there is something for everyone.

The workshops not only provide insight into the meticulous process of tea preparation but also offer a hands-on opportunity to immerse yourself in the world of traditional Japanese tea culture.

The Ippodo Tea store in Kyoto is situated on historic Teramachi Street, only about a five-minute walk from the Kamo River or the Kyoto Imperial Palace. The store and Kaboku Tearoom were remodeled in 2023, reopening fully on December 15th.

The store operates from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., with the last order at 4:30 p.m., and the tearoom is also open during the same hours. The store is closed on the 2nd Wednesday of each month.

When visiting the main store in Kyoto, you will find a large counter with a list showing all of Ippodo’s teas right above it. On your left, you will see a wall lined with old tea jars. The shop possesses a distinctive atmosphere in which old and new coexist. They also offer tea for take-out.

The Kaboku Tearoom is located to the right of the shop. It consists of three areas, each with its own distinct atmosphere: “Oku no Ma,” which is directly ahead when you walk into the tearoom from the shop; “Counter,” and “Teramachi no Ma,” which looks out onto Teramachi Street.

Here, you can have the staff guide you through preparing the tea yourself or just savor tea prepared by professionals. You can have delicious sweets with the tea, too.

On the second floor, reached using the stairs at the back of the shop area, are two rooms, one large and one small.

In this relaxed, quiet environment, they hold classes explaining how to prepare Japanese tea to bring out the authentic, delicious flavor of Japanese tea leaves, as well as providing hints for enjoying Japanese tea regularly.

4. Saryo Tsujiri, Gion Outlet

Located in the historic Gion district, Saryo Tsujiri is an ideal spot for a matcha break while exploring the traditional streets of Kyoto. The cafe is located at 573-3 Gionmachi Minamigawa, Higashiyama-ku, 2 to 3F Gion Tsujiri Honten, Kyoto, 605-0074. It is open from 10:00 to 21:00 every day. The cafe is known for serving the best Uji tea experience in the heart of Gion, Kyoto.

The cafe specializes in crafting unique matcha parfaits and other innovative matcha-infused treats that are not only delicious but also visually appealing. In addition to these, the cafe also offers exquisite Uji teas, tea confectioneries, and soba noodles. They also have a takeout menu available, which includes tea beverages and ice cream.

Saryo Tsujiri’s menu goes beyond traditional offerings by introducing seasonal, limited-edition matcha flavors, providing visitors with an opportunity to taste exclusive creations based on the time of year. This adds an element of excitement for returning customers, who can always expect something new and different during each visit.

The ambiance at Saryo Tsujiri complements its menu perfectly, creating a serene environment where patrons can enjoy their matcha delights amidst a tranquil setting. The cafe has a high rating of 4.5 based on 273 reviews, indicating that it is well-received by its patrons. Visitors have praised the delicious matcha desserts and the comfortable environment.

The combination of exquisite culinary creations and a peaceful atmosphere makes this cafe a must-visit for anyone seeking an authentic Japanese tea experience in Kyoto’s bustling Gion district.

Saryo Tsujiri is part of the long-established sweets store Gion Tsujiri, which operates on two floors and is known for its high-quality Uji tea from Kyoto and Uji. The ground floor store welcomes you with various tea leaves and tea confectioneries for your souvenirs in Kyoto.

an esteemed tea specialty shop in Uji

5. Ito Kyuemon

Ito Kyuemon, Uji, Kyoto’s “Esteemed Tea Specialty Shop,” offers a variety of Uji teas and matcha-infused sweets. Known for maintaining high-quality products at affordable prices, it appeals to budget-conscious travelers. It is conveniently located in Uji, Kyoto, making it easily accessible for tourists exploring the city’s historic streets.

For tea enthusiasts visiting Kyoto, Ito Kyuemon provides an immersive experience of the local Uji tea culture. Situated just minutes away from historic temples, this shop captures the essence of Kyoto’s charm while serving up authentic Uji tea treats.

The convenience of Ito Kyuemon being in Uji, Kyoto, allows both locals and visitors to enjoy a quick break or indulge in a leisurely tea session without straying far from their itinerary. The bustling atmosphere combined with the serene taste of traditional Uji tea creates a unique blend that embodies the spirit of this historic town.

Whether you’re seeking a refreshing drink after strolling through tea plantations or looking for a cozy spot to savor Japanese sweets, Ito Kyuemon stands out as one of the best places to immerse yourself in Kyoto’s rich culinary heritage without breaking the bank.

The shop is known for its calm and modern interior, filled with the refreshing aroma of tea. If you’re interested in trying Uji tea, you can sample it at the tea counter. The shop offers a variety of Uji tea and matcha-infused sweets, all crafted with traditional techniques. The shop is easily accessible, located about 5 minutes on foot from both the Keihan Uji Line’s Uji Station and the JR Nara Line’s Uji Station.

The shop has a seating capacity of 62, with tables for both small and large groups. The shop is open from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., with the last order for the tea room at 5:30 p.m. The shop is open all year round, except for New Year’s Day.

The shop accepts various types of credit cards and electronic money. The shop offers a variety of limited-edition and seasonal items, such as Uji Matcha Raw Dorayaki and Uji Matcha Tiramisu. The shop has received a Certificate of Excellence from TripAdvisor.

6. Nakamura Tokichi

Nakamura Tokichi is a historic tea shop in Kyoto with a legacy spanning over 165 years. This esteemed establishment is renowned for its matcha sweets, offering a delightful fusion of traditional flavors and modern culinary artistry.

Nakamura Tokichi is a traditional, deliciously fragrant Uji matcha tea brand. Uji matcha tea is one of Japan’s leading brands of green tea, along with Shizuoka and Sayama tea. This popular tea comes from Uji, Kyoto, the birthplace of the tea cultivation methods used to this day.

Located in the serene city of Uji, Nakamura Tokichi provides a tranquil setting that enhances the tea-drinking experience. The establishment takes pride in serving traditional Japanese sweets alongside high-quality matcha, creating a harmonious blend of flavors for visitors to savor.

Nakamura Tokichi Honten, a Japanese teahouse founded in 1854, was designated as an Important Cultural Landscape in 2009. The building still retains much of its original appearance as a tea merchant shop from the Meiji period.

With a diverse range of tea sets available, Nakamura Tokichi caters to various preferences and tastes among its customers. Whether you are a seasoned matcha enthusiast or new to the world of Japanese green tea, there is something on the menu to delight your palate.

The history of Uji tea dates back to the Kamakura Period (1185–1333). It was introduced to Japan by Eisai Zenji, the founder of the Japanese sect of Zen Buddhism. Full-scale tea cultivation began when Eisai decided to plant the tea trees grown from seeds he brought back from China in Uji.

The combination of authentic Japanese treats with premium-quality matcha elevates the overall dining experience at Nakamura Tokichi. This fusion allows patrons to not only enjoy delicious snacks but also appreciate the artistry and culture behind each cup of meticulously prepared matcha.

Thanks to the Uji region’s fog-producing diurnal effect and abundant rainfall, it was a prime location for producing high-quality tea. Even more cultivation methods developed throughout the Edo Period (1603–1867), leading to the production of two other popular types of Japanese tea, sencha and gyokuro.

For those seeking an immersive cultural journey through Kyoto’s tea traditions, Nakamura Tokichi provides a perfect setting to indulge in exquisite teas and delectable sweets while basking in the tranquility of this historic city.

As the birthplace of Japanese tea and the cultivation methods used today, Uji has gradually become the center of Japanese tea culture. Uji matcha tea was even the beverage of choice at tea parties hosted by the shogunate and the royal family.

Nakamura Tokichi Honten is located right next to JR Uji Station and about 10 minutes on foot from Keihan Uji Station. Rest assured that measures against COVID-19 are firmly in place. At Nakamura Tokichi, you can also enjoy Hiki-cha (tea powder making) and tea ceremonies. The establishment runs a café and shop as well.

7. Shimizu Ippoen Kyoto

Nestled in the vicinity of renowned attractions like Sanjusangendo and Kiyomizudera, Shimizu Ippoen Kyoto is a must-visit for those seeking an authentic Japanese tea experience. Its strategic location allows visitors to immerse themselves in the traditional charm of Kyoto, enhancing the enjoyment of their tea-infused treats.

Shimizu Ippoen Kyoto is celebrated for its rich and flavorful matcha desserts. The café has mastered the art of creating delightful treats like matcha parfaits and financiers, which are as visually appealing as they are delicious. The creamy texture combined with the intense green tea flavor makes it a popular choice among locals and tourists alike.

But Shimizu Ippoen Kyoto doesn’t stop at just desserts; they offer a diverse range of tea products to cater to different preferences. From traditional Japanese and Taiwanese teas to contemporary matcha-infused snacks, there is something for everyone at this café.

For those looking to bring home a piece of Kyoto, Shimizu Ippoen Kyoto also provides take-home souvenirs that capture the essence of Japanese tea culture. These items make for unique gifts or personal mementos that allow you to savor your memories long after your visit.

Whether you’re indulging in their famous desserts or browsing through their selection of tea goodies, Shimizu Ippoen Kyoto promises an unforgettable culinary adventure infused with traditions dating back to 1945 and modern innovation.

8. Ten Japanese Cafe and Gift Shop

Ten Japanese Cafe and Gift Shop is a unique destination that offers an extensive selection of authentic Japanese products, making it a must-visit for those looking to immerse themselves in the rich culture of Japan. The cafe serves a variety of traditional Japanese beverages, including high-quality matcha tea, while the gift shop boasts an array of beautifully crafted items.

The premium matcha served at the cafe ensures a genuine and flavorful experience. From classic matcha tea to inventive concoctions like matcha-infused pastries, there is something for every matcha lover to relish at Ten Japanese Cafe.

In addition to the matcha offerings, the cafe also serves a variety of desserts and cakes, presented in artistically crafted dishes. Seasonal desserts are also available, providing a taste of the changing Japanese seasons.

Browsing through the diverse range of products in the gift shop allows you to appreciate the intricate craftsmanship and aesthetic appeal of traditional Japanese items.

The shop features handmade goods, including pottery by local artists, hand-drawn noren (Japanese fabric dividers), hand-rubbed gift bags, handmade postcards, and papier-mâché items. Most of these products are planned and produced in their own workshops.

Whether you are a long-time admirer of Japanese culture or a curious newcomer, the variety at Ten Japanese Cafe and Gift Shop promises an engaging exploration into the world of authentic Japanese products.

Don’t miss this chance to savor some of the finest matcha beverages and shop for unique souvenirs while soaking in the serene ambiance and cultural richness that envelop this charming cafe and gift shop. Please note that the cafe’s operating hours are from 11:00 to 18:00 from Monday to Sunday.

9. Marukyu-Koyamaen Uji Cafe

Marukyu-Koyamaen is a renowned tea producer with roots tracing back to the Genroku period (1688–1704). The company was started by a man named Kyujiro Koyama, who began tea cultivation and production in Ogura, Uji.

Located in the heart of Uji, Kyoto, Marukyu-Koyamaen offers an authentic taste of tradition in the serene setting of the Uji region. At their tea house, visitors can immerse themselves in the essence of Japanese tea culture.

The cafe presents a unique experience by serving matcha and traditional Japanese sweets crafted using their own meticulously grown tea leaves. This emphasis on quality and heritage elevates the taste buds of both casual visitors and dedicated tea enthusiasts alike.

Marukyu-Koyamaen is highly regarded for its quality of tea. Their matcha is top-notch and is highly regarded, even by grand tea masters and temple priests. They offer a variety of matcha products.

The cafe is known for its matcha-infused treats. The cafe caters to diverse preferences while honoring Japan’s rich cultural heritage.

10. Kagizen Yoshifusa in Gion

Kagizen Yoshifusa, located in the heart of Gion, stands out as a historic tea house with exquisite traditional decor that immerses visitors in the rich cultural heritage of Kyoto. The establishment is renowned for its serene ambiance, making it a perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of Gion’s busy streets.

This tea house offers an extensive array of matcha-infused desserts and seasonal delicacies, each meticulously crafted to deliver an authentic taste experience. From delicate wagashi (traditional Japanese sweets) to flavorful matcha ice cream, Kagizen Yoshifusa caters to diverse palates seeking an elevated culinary journey.

Whether you are a matcha enthusiast or someone looking to explore Japanese tea culture further, Kagizen Yoshifusa provides a unique setting to savor premium-quality matcha treats while embracing the tranquility of this historical district.

For those exploring Gion through platforms like GetYourGuide, a visit to Kagizen Yoshifusa promises not only delightful gastronomic delights but also a glimpse into Kyoto’s refined tea traditions within an enchanting setting that seamlessly blends tradition with modernity.

Kagizen Yoshifusa was established in the mid-Edo period and has continued making Kyogashi (Kyoto sweets) at the corner of Kyoto’s “Hanamachi,” the stylish district of Gion. The sweets of Kagizen have not changed their ways from the past.

Carefully selected ingredients are its base; they are the handwork of craftsmen employing the simple recipe handed down through the generations. Their handcrafted sugar-based creations are presented daily in the front window, akin to art.

The charm and fascination are not just confined to the sweets alone. It is only with much attention to the fine design details of the box, wrapping, and leaflet that it becomes a complete and finished product.

a serene tea garden and a traditional tea house where visitors enjoy a matcha tea ceremony

Summary

You’ve now got the lowdown on the top matcha spots in Kyoto. From the traditional vibes at Tsujiri Honten to the bustling scene at Nishiki Market Matcha Stands, Kyoto’s matcha game is strong. So, whether you’re a matcha aficionado or just starting your green tea journey, these spots are a must-visit.

Now that you’re armed with this matcha knowledge, go forth and sip your way through Kyoto’s finest matcha offerings. Don’t forget to take in the ambiance and savor every sip. Your matcha adventure awaits!

Frequently Asked Questions

Where can I find the best matcha in Kyoto?

If you’re looking for the best matcha in Kyoto, some top spots to check out are Tsujiri Honten in Uji, Nakamura Tokichi Honten, and Ippodo Tea at the Kyoto Main Store. These places are renowned for their high-quality matcha products and traditional tea experiences.

What makes Tsujiri Honten in Uji stand out as a must-visit spot for matcha lovers?

Tsujiri Honten in Uji is a must-visit spot because of its rich history dating back to 1860. They offer premium quality matcha sourced from Uji, known for producing some of the finest green tea in Japan. The authentic atmosphere and traditional preparation methods make it a favorite among locals and tourists alike.

Are there any unique matcha experiences offered at Saryo Tsujiri – Gion Outlet?

Saryo Tsujiri – Gion Outlet offers unique matcha experiences such as ceremonial tea tastings and hands-on workshops where you can learn about the art of preparing matcha. It’s a great place to immerse yourself in Japanese tea culture while enjoying delicious sweets made with high-grade matcha.

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