Maker’s Story: Premium Matcha Products from Uji, Kyoto by Kyoeiseicha

Maker’s Story: Premium Matcha Products from Uji, Kyoto by Kyoeiseicha

This May, JAPAN RAIL CLUB celebrates the joy that matcha brings to our lives with the special “So Much Matcha” Omiyage Snack Box. May marks the start of the traditional tea spring season and the early May is known as "hachiju hachiya" (八十八夜), which means the 88th night – a special day in the Japanese lunar calendar when farmers can begin to pick tea leaves.  

With a nearly 900-year long history, Uji (宇治) in Kyoto Prefecture is one of the top green tea growing regions in Japan as it is renowned for producing premium quality tea and matcha. During the Edo Period (1603-1868), matcha produced in Uji was of extremely high value, mainly supplied to shoguns, feudal lords, court nobles, senior warriors, and temples.

Today, Uji is still a thriving historical tea town with many teahouses and traditional tea gardens remaining in the area.

In this month of matcha, we are honoured to feature popular matcha snacks from tea manufacturer Kyoeiseicha Co., Ltd. (共栄製茶株式会社) and their representative brand Morihan (森半). We had an enriching chat with Ms. Okamoto (岡本), Morihan EC Sales Representative, to learn more about their famous tea products. 

 

Premium tea grown in Uji, KyotoPremium tea grown in Uji, Kyoto Prefecture | Photo by Kyoeiseicha Co., Ltd.

 

Hi Okamoto san, thanks for your time! Can you share more about Kyoeiseicha?

Founded in 1836 in Uji, the company is committed to refining the quality of Japanese tea and preserving tea culture. As we are based in Uji, one of Japan's top tea-growing regions and renowned for producing premium matcha (抹茶) and gyokuro (玉露), we have been developing our business in tandem with the evolving history of Japanese tea. 

 

Process of making Uji matcha powderThe behind-the-scenes images of creating premium matcha from Uji, Kyoto |Photo by Kyoeiseicha Co., Ltd. 

We specialise in Japanese tea, matcha, dry-mix powder products, and matcha sweets. While we are focused on perfecting our traditional tea products, we are innovating constantly so that we can create new products to cater to our growing customer base. 

For instance, in the early 1900s, our company began selling “Koori-cha” (氷茶), the predecessor of cold brew green tea, and "Sweetened Green Tea" (グリーンティー), a local drink in the Kansai region. Since then, we have also produced and sold the world’s first foamy matcha au lait (抹茶オーレ), acquired international certifications, and recently opened a tea theme park called TEA SQUARE MORIHAN.

 

What a long history and strong commitment dedicated to tea culture! What are your company’s main brands and products?

Our main brand is Morihan (森半) and we have a range of products that represents our dedication to bringing the best quality tea to our customers regardless of demographic. Let me introduce some of our top-selling products. 

 

Morihan’s Assortment of Famous Teas from Uji - KozanjiMorihan’s Assortment of Famous Teas from Uji - Kozanji | Photo by Kyoeiseicha Co., Ltd.

Firstly, Morihan’s Assortment of Premium Teas from Uji - Kozanji (森半 <宇治> 名品銘茶詰め合わせ(高山寺)) showcases top-grade gyokuro and sencha (煎茶) tea leaves. Located in the west of Kyoto City, Kozanji is believed to be the first tea cultivation site in Japan and it is known for producing highly sought after tea leaves. This luxurious selection makes a perfect gift for that special someone. 

 

Uji Matcha “Dokodemo Matcha” Stick DrinkUji Matcha “Dokodemo Matcha” Stick Drink| Photo by Kyoeiseicha Co., Ltd.

Matcha lovers’ favourite product is the Uji Matcha stick “Dokodemo Matcha” (宇治抹茶スティック どこでも抹茶). You can enjoy Matcha drink anywhere and anytime. You can also use this powder in your cooking and baking. 

 

CHASTA teapotCHASTA teapot | Photo by Kyoeiseicha Co., Ltd.

Our best-selling tea set is the CHASTA teapot. The lightweight teapot has a special simple symmetrical shape that allows you to pour tea elegantly and clean it easily. CHASTA teapot is a must-have for all tea-drinking enthusiasts! 

 

We are excited to try your products! What about the products featured in this month’s matcha-themed Omiyage Snack Box? 

We are proud to share three popular products in JAPAN RAIL CLUB’s “So Much Matcha” Omiyage Snack Box:

 

Matcha Cream Sandwich Cookie WaffleMatcha Cream Sandwich Cookie Waffle | Photo by Kyoeiseicha Co., Ltd.

Matcha Cream Sandwich Cookie Waffle (クリームサンド 抹茶ヴァッフェル)

This delightful snack is made of crispy wave-shaped cookie dough and moist matcha cream that will melt in your mouth. Elevate your teatime with this matcha snack that goes well with tea. 

 

Matcha Crystal CandyMatcha Crystal Candy | Photo by Kyoeiseicha Co., Ltd.

Matcha Crystal Candy (抹茶水晶飴 -本地釜仕上げ-)

Crafted by local artisans of Kyoto-style confectionery, matcha crystal candy is a new type of sweet made by the finest sugar and malt syrup in local kettles. The best part of the candy is the rich matcha filling. When you put the candy in your mouth, you can taste the matcha essence with a hint of aromatic bitterness.

 

Genmaicha (Sencha with Roasted Brown Rice) with Matcha TeabagGenmaicha with Matcha Teabag | Photo by Kyoeiseicha Co., Ltd.

Genmaicha (Sencha with Roasted Brown Rice) with Matcha Teabag (宇治抹茶入り玄米茶)

You can enjoy the harmonious blend of fragrant green tea and toasty roasted rice. 

The pyramid shape of the tea bag allows the tea leaves to spread out inside, ensuring thorough extraction.

 

We know that Uji matcha is famous. What are the highlights of your company and tea products that our readers should know?

Tea leaves selected by tea masters
Tea leaves selected by tea masters | Photo by Kyoeiseicha Co., Ltd.

The matcha used in “So Much Matcha” Omiyage Snack Box is all “UJI Matcha”, which is the most respected regional tea brand. Our tea master is a two-time winner of the National Tea Qualify Judging Skills Competition (全国茶審査技術競技大会). With tea materials selected by the tea master, our company continuously produces high quality Japanese tea by implementing new technologies to improve our processes. 

We believe in the importance of supporting the tea agriculture ecosystem, so we form partnerships with farmers and other stakeholders to produce high quality products and create value-added benefits. As we embrace the tea culture and traditions, we also focus on sustainability for our business development. We are spearheading sustainable initiatives and expanding the range of our products that use environmentally friendly materials. 

 

CHASTA, one of Kyoeiseicha’s popular range of tea productsCHASTA, one of Kyoeiseicha’s popular range of tea products | Photo by Kyoeiseicha Co., Ltd.

With our international food safety certification, we can assure the safety of our products. We place great emphasis on food quality and safety during the production of our products. We strive to source organic raw materials and use local ingredients. 

 

What is one place in Uji that you would recommend for first-time visitors to the area?

TEA SQUARE MORIHANTEA SQUARE MORIHAN | Photo by Kyoeiseicha Co., Ltd.

I would like to recommend Uji’s new attraction, TEA SQUARE MORIHAN. This historical tea house is injected with a new lease of life after extensive renovations. Since its opening in June 2023, it has attracted local and international visitors who are keen to find out more about Uji matcha and try various tea products. 

 

Tea confectionery at TEA SQUARE MORIHANMatcha and hojicha snacks | Photo by Kyoeiseicha Co., Ltd.

The aesthetically pleasing complex encourages visitors to immerse in the world of tea. The cosy Kura Café (蔵カフェ) is tucked in the corner of the building and you can enjoy sipping freshly made matcha and hōjicha (roasted green tea) sweets while watching the tea brewing process. 

 

The newly opened “TEA SQUARE MORIHAN” tea facility allows you to experience Japan’s tea culture with all five sensesThe newly opened “TEA SQUARE MORIHAN” tea facility allows you to experience Japan’s tea culture with all five senses | Photo by Kyoeiseicha Co., Ltd.

The tea house is also converted into a mini museum with its display of tea leaves so you can learn more about the tea and products you are enjoying. 

 

Beautiful interior and exterior in TEA SQUARE MORIHANThe beautifully thought-out space of TEA SQUARE MORIHAN | Photo by Kyoeiseicha Co., Ltd.

TEA SQUARE MORIHAN is just a 10-minute walk from Ogura Station (小倉駅) on the Kintetsu Kyoto Line and a 15-minute walk from JR Ogura Station on the JR Nara Line. Parking spaces are available. 

 

TEA SQUARE MORIHAN
Address: 78 Kubo, Ogura-cho, Uji, Kyoto, 611-0042
Opening hours: 09:30–17:30 (Closed on Sundays)

Kura Café: 10:00–17:00 (Last order 16:30)
Confectionery shop and retail store: 10:00-17:00

 

Tea plantation in UjiPremium tea leaves from tea plantations in Uji | Photo by Kyoeiseicha Co., Ltd.

Thank you for sharing your wonderful tea products with us! Lastly, do you have any message for our JAPAN RAIL CLUB readers and members?

Japanese tea and matcha is an important part of Japanese culture and different regions in Japan produce a wide variety of tea. The different types of tea are grown using varied cultivation methods to adapt to each region’s climate and landscape. If you have the chance to visit different regions in Japan, you can taste different varieties of tea and matcha, their distinctive flavour profiles, and discover your favourite tea. 

We welcome you to visit Uji when you are in Japan as you can experience the unique environment that produces Japanese tea. Please stop by our newly opened tea theme park, TEA SQUARE MORIHAN, which offers a unique tea cultural experience where you can truly savour the deliciousness of Japanese tea and Uji matcha through crafted beverages and confectionery. We hope you'll spend a relaxing time with your family and friends while indulging in our tea products, and we eagerly await your visit.

 

Japan is famous for matcha! Enjoy a box full of matcha snacks curated by JAPAN RAIL CLUB. Subscribe today!

May your days be filled with matcha this May! Look out for three of Kyoeiseicha’s snacks from their main brand Morihan — “Matcha Crystal Candy”, “Matcha Cream Sandwich Cookie Waffle”, and “Genmaicha with Matcha Teabag” — in JAPAN RAIL CLUB’s May 2024 Omiyage Snack Box “So Much Matcha”. Subscribe today to try these made-in-Kyoto treats and other delicious matcha snacks from Japan!

Meet the author

Sue Lynn

Currently based in Tokyo, Sue Lynn first came to Japan as a university exchange student. With 6 years of experience in Japan's inbound tourism, she is familiar with Japan, particularly on rail passes and East Japan spots, and has a passion for travelling.

Sue is also passionate about Japan's thrifting culture, and is keen to uncover more hidden gems while visiting all 47 prefectures during her stay in Japan.

Sue's 5Cs are cats, cameras, cinema, climbing, and city pop. Ask her about how her favourite JR Pass (JR TOKYO Wide Pass) saved her life (and wallet).

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What is Golden Week? Golden Week (ゴールデンウィーク or 黄金週間 Ogon Shukan), recognised as one of Japan's most prominent and bustling holiday periods, usually spans from late April to early May...

Dawn Sim Culture

Golden Week: Exploring Japan's Week-Long Festiv...

What is Golden Week? Golden Week (ゴールデンウィーク or 黄金週間 Ogon Shukan), recognised as one of...

春暖花開:櫻花之外的六種當季花卉
Sue Lynn

春暖花開:櫻花之外的六種當季花卉

賞花的樂趣之一,就是它們轉瞬即逝的特性:花期每季只有幾天,但那短暫幾天卻難忘極了。來看看六種春天當季花卉,以及賞花最佳時機!

Carissa Loh Nature

春暖花開:櫻花之外的六種當季花卉

賞花的樂趣之一,就是它們轉瞬即逝的特性:花期每季只有幾天,但那短暫幾天卻難忘極了。來看看六種春天當季花卉,以及賞花最佳時機!

Spring Beginnings: 6 Seasonal Flowers Other Than Sakura
Sue Lynn

Spring Beginnings: 6 Seasonal Flowers Other Tha...

Flowers herald the beginning of spring, and in Japan, no flower is more synonymous with spring than the beloved cherry blossom (桜 sakura). However, other than these pretty, pink blossoms,...

Carissa Loh Nature

Spring Beginnings: 6 Seasonal Flowers Other Tha...

Flowers herald the beginning of spring, and in Japan, no flower is more synonymous with...

Spring Beginnings: 7 Things to Do in Japan in April and May
Sue Lynn

Spring Beginnings: 7 Things to Do in Japan in A...

Cherry blossoms, or sakura, are flowers symbolic of spring, often alluded to the promise of a new beginning in many Japanese literature. | Photo by Dawn Sim   A symbol...

Dawn Sim Spring

Spring Beginnings: 7 Things to Do in Japan in A...

Cherry blossoms, or sakura, are flowers symbolic of spring, often alluded to the promise of...

Spring Beginnings: 6 Must-Try Spring Foods in Japan
Sue Lynn

Spring Beginnings: 6 Must-Try Spring Foods in J...

Spring in Japan is a time for celebration as the season marks new beginnings. Other than the mesmerising cherry blossoms painting the landscape, spring is the best season to experience...

Wendy Ng Food

Spring Beginnings: 6 Must-Try Spring Foods in J...

Spring in Japan is a time for celebration as the season marks new beginnings. Other...

Spring Beginnings: 6 Must-Visit Spring Festivals in Japan
Sue Lynn

Spring Beginnings: 6 Must-Visit Spring Festival...

Photo by cyesuta (CC BY-SA 2.0)   Spring is a season of new beginnings, bringing with it beautiful flowers, comfortable temperatures, and a time of celebration. While most travellers head...

Carissa Loh Festival

Spring Beginnings: 6 Must-Visit Spring Festival...

Photo by cyesuta (CC BY-SA 2.0)   Spring is a season of new beginnings, bringing...

Castle Day (6 April): 10 Must-Visit Castles in Japan
Sue Lynn

Castle Day (6 April): 10 Must-Visit Castles in ...

Matsue Castle in spring. | Photo by 島根県観光連盟 Japan, a nation celebrated for its rich history and enduring cultural heritage, is particularly famous for its magnificent Japanese castles (お城 oshiro)....

Carissa Loh Culture

Castle Day (6 April): 10 Must-Visit Castles in ...

Matsue Castle in spring. | Photo by 島根県観光連盟 Japan, a nation celebrated for its rich...

Sakura Karinto and Marui Suzuki
Sue Lynn

Maker’s Story: Seasonal Karinto Snacks from Tok...

April marks the official arrival of spring in Japan, and one of the cherished traditions of celebrating this season is to enjoy “ohanami” (お花見)! Ohanami means “flower-viewing”, and this is...

Sue Lynn Maker's Story

Maker’s Story: Seasonal Karinto Snacks from Tok...

April marks the official arrival of spring in Japan, and one of the cherished traditions...

A Guide to Sakura in Tohoku: Best Cherry Blossom Viewing Spots in Northeast Japan
Sue Lynn

A Guide to Sakura in Tohoku: Best Cherry Blosso...

Hirosaki Castle Park | Photo by Aomori Prefecture Cherry blossoms or sakura (桜) herald the start of springtime in Japan. Spring is the prettiest and most enjoyable season with radiant...

Wendy Ng Spring

A Guide to Sakura in Tohoku: Best Cherry Blosso...

Hirosaki Castle Park | Photo by Aomori Prefecture Cherry blossoms or sakura (桜) herald the...

A Guide to Japanese Shochu: A Tasting Tour of Shochu Distilleries in Miyazaki
Sue Lynn

A Guide to Japanese Shochu: A Tasting Tour of S...

Shochu (焼酎) is one of the most consumed alcoholic beverages in Japan and the Japanese drink more shochu than sake. Considered to be Japan's national spirit, Shochu is gaining great...

Wendy Ng

A Guide to Japanese Shochu: A Tasting Tour of S...

Shochu (焼酎) is one of the most consumed alcoholic beverages in Japan and the Japanese...

Tohoku: A Tale of Tradition through its Cultural Icons
Sue Lynn

Tohoku: A Tale of Tradition through its Cultura...

Statues of the Namahage located in Oga Peninsula. | Photo by PhotoAC Steeped in tradition, Tohoku (東北), the northeastern part of Japan comprising of six prefectures – Aomori (青森), Akita...

Dawn Sim Culture

Tohoku: A Tale of Tradition through its Cultura...

Statues of the Namahage located in Oga Peninsula. | Photo by PhotoAC Steeped in tradition,...

Tasty Tohoku Treats: 6 Must-Try Food from Northeast Japan
Sue Lynn

Tasty Tohoku Treats: 6 Must-Try Food from North...

Japan is a food paradise and beyond the major cities and well-trodden travel routes, you can unearth more culinary treasures spread throughout the country if you venture into the less...

Wendy Ng Food

Tasty Tohoku Treats: 6 Must-Try Food from North...

Japan is a food paradise and beyond the major cities and well-trodden travel routes, you...

Sakura 2024: 5 Must-Visit Cherry Blossom Spots in Tokyo for Ohanami
Sue Lynn

Sakura 2024: 5 Must-Visit Cherry Blossom Spots ...

If you have visited Tokyo between late March and early April, then chances are you have witnessed the enchanting sight of cherry blossoms (桜 sakura) in full bloom. A cherry...

Carissa Loh Culture

Sakura 2024: 5 Must-Visit Cherry Blossom Spots ...

If you have visited Tokyo between late March and early April, then chances are you...

Tasty Tohoku Treats: 6 Must-Buy Souvenirs from Tohoku
Sue Lynn

Tasty Tohoku Treats: 6 Must-Buy Souvenirs from ...

Located on the north-eastern part of mainland Japan, Tohoku (東北) is made up of six prefectures, and is a treasure trove of beautiful nature and fascinating history. It’s a wonderful...

Carissa Loh Food

Tasty Tohoku Treats: 6 Must-Buy Souvenirs from ...

Located on the north-eastern part of mainland Japan, Tohoku (東北) is made up of six...

Omiyage Day (8 March): Exploring Japan's Souvenir & Gift-Giving Culture
Sue Lynn

Omiyage Day (8 March): Exploring Japan's Souven...

Have you heard of omiyage (お土産)? If you’ve been to Japan, then you have probably seen the colourful and beautifully packaged boxes of local confectionery filling the gift shops along...

Carissa Loh Culture

Omiyage Day (8 March): Exploring Japan's Souven...

Have you heard of omiyage (お土産)? If you’ve been to Japan, then you have probably...

March Maker's Story: Hand-grilled Rice Crackers from Akita by Kanaeya
Sue Lynn

March Maker's Story: Hand-grilled Rice Crackers...

The Tohoku Region is home to some of Japan’s best untouched nature. Take Akita as an example, a prefecture where lush landscapes meet premium rice fields. Renowned for its exceptional...

Sue Lynn Maker's Story

March Maker's Story: Hand-grilled Rice Crackers...

The Tohoku Region is home to some of Japan’s best untouched nature. Take Akita as...

March Maker’s Story: Obuse Chestnut Snacks from Takachiho (Winner of JR East Omiyage Grand Prix 2023 - Koshin’etsu Area Prize)
Sue Lynn

March Maker’s Story: Obuse Chestnut Snacks from...

If you have been to Japan, you will understand the universal struggle of finding the perfect souvenir or omiyage (お土産) to bring home for your loved ones and colleagues. While...

Sue Lynn Maker's Story

March Maker’s Story: Obuse Chestnut Snacks from...

If you have been to Japan, you will understand the universal struggle of finding the...

Hina Matsuri (3 March): Japan’s Spring Festival Celebrating Girls’ Day
Sue Lynn

Hina Matsuri (3 March): Japan’s Spring Festival...

Displaying exquisitely made hina-ningyo dressed in traditional Heian attire is the main activity associated with the Hina Matsuri | ©photoAC Have you ever heard of Japan’s Hina Matsuri (雛祭)? Otherwise known...

Dawn Sim Culture

Hina Matsuri (3 March): Japan’s Spring Festival...

Displaying exquisitely made hina-ningyo dressed in traditional Heian attire is the main activity associated with the...

Inspired by Izu: Exploring Izu Peninsula Through The Eyes of Japanese Writers
Sue Lynn

Inspired by Izu: Exploring Izu Peninsula Throug...

If you are a fan of Japanese literature, take a walk in the footsteps of literary giants and look no further than Izu Peninsula (伊豆半島), which lies just about 1-2...

Dawn Sim Travel

Inspired by Izu: Exploring Izu Peninsula Throug...

If you are a fan of Japanese literature, take a walk in the footsteps of...

Mount Fuji with tea plantation in the foreground
Sue Lynn

Mount Fuji Day (23 February): 5 Ways to Enjoy J...

Standing at 3,776m above sea level, the almost perfectly symmetrical Mount Fuji (富士山 Fujisan) is Japan’s highest mountain, and has become a symbol of the country, recognised worldwide for its...

Carissa Loh Travel

Mount Fuji Day (23 February): 5 Ways to Enjoy J...

Standing at 3,776m above sea level, the almost perfectly symmetrical Mount Fuji (富士山 Fujisan) is...

Happy Cat Day (22 February): 5 Cat Islands in Japan to Meet Feline Friends
Sue Lynn

Happy Cat Day (22 February): 5 Cat Islands in J...

Are you a cat (猫 neko) lover? If you’ve been to Japan, you might have noticed how beloved cats are over there. Think maneki-neko (招き猫) cat figurines that beckon luck,...

Carissa Loh Culture

Happy Cat Day (22 February): 5 Cat Islands in J...

Are you a cat (猫 neko) lover? If you’ve been to Japan, you might have...

In the Mood for Love: Romancing on Valentine’s Day in Japan
Sue Lynn

In the Mood for Love: Romancing on Valentine’s ...

Love is in the air in February with Valentine’s Day! On 14 February, Valentine’s Day is universally celebrated across the globe where presents like chocolates, candies, and flowers are gifted...

Wendy Ng Culture

In the Mood for Love: Romancing on Valentine’s ...

Love is in the air in February with Valentine’s Day! On 14 February, Valentine’s Day...

Romance Izu in the Air: 5 Romantic Spots in the Izu Peninsula
Sue Lynn

Romance Izu in the Air: 5 Romantic Spots in the...

With so many captivating attractions, you can spend days exploring the Izu Peninsula with your loved one, but where to start? Here are our top five picks for romantic dating...

Carissa Loh Travel

Romance Izu in the Air: 5 Romantic Spots in the...

With so many captivating attractions, you can spend days exploring the Izu Peninsula with your...

A Side Trip to Saitama: Discovering “Little Edo”, Cafes, and the Railway Museum
Sue Lynn

A Side Trip to Saitama: Discovering “Little Edo...

Located just about half an hour north of Central Tokyo, Ōmiya Station (大宮駅 Ōmiya-eki) is the gateway to the neighbouring Saitama Prefecture (埼玉県). It is also a stop on more...

JAPANKURU Travel

A Side Trip to Saitama: Discovering “Little Edo...

Located just about half an hour north of Central Tokyo, Ōmiya Station (大宮駅 Ōmiya-eki) is...

February Maker’s Story: Shizuoka-grown Wasabi by Kameya Foods
Sue Lynn

February Maker’s Story: Shizuoka-grown Wasabi b...

Are you familiar with wasabi (わさび)? Made from the Wasabia japonica plant, wasabi or the Japanese horseradish is a unique spice native to Japan and is a staple in Japanese...

Sue Lynn Maker's Story

February Maker’s Story: Shizuoka-grown Wasabi b...

Are you familiar with wasabi (わさび)? Made from the Wasabia japonica plant, wasabi or the...

Winter Wonderland: 7 Snowiest Cities in Japan and Must-do Activities
Sue Lynn

Winter Wonderland: 7 Snowiest Cities in Japan a...

Winter season in Japan boasts some of its most amazing and picturesque sceneries, especially in regions lying alongside the Sea of Japan (日本海), otherwise known as Yukiguni (雪国), or Snow...

Dawn Sim Festival

Winter Wonderland: 7 Snowiest Cities in Japan a...

Winter season in Japan boasts some of its most amazing and picturesque sceneries, especially in...

Winter Wonders: 8 Winter Foods & Delicacies to Enjoy in Japan
Sue Lynn

Winter Wonders: 8 Winter Foods & Delicacies to ...

Winter in Japan is not just a season to enjoy snow activities and festivals; it’s also a time to indulge in winter cuisine as Japan is blessed with bountiful harvest...

Wendy Ng Food

Winter Wonders: 8 Winter Foods & Delicacies to ...

Winter in Japan is not just a season to enjoy snow activities and festivals; it’s...