Green tea was first brought to Japan in 805 A.D. by two Buddhist monks, Saicho and Kukai, who after studying in abroad in China returned with some young tea trees.
In 1191 A.D. another Buddhist monk, Eisai, popularised he idea of drinking tea for good health after studying in China for a period of time. Around the same time Japanese farmers began growing green tea in Uji, Kyoto.
Eisai then went on to write the first Japanese book about tea, KISSA YOHJYOH KI, in 1211 A.D..
Obuku area in the Ujiawara region of Kyoto had its first tea trees planted in 1271 A.D. by a Buddhist monk, Kohken. Obuku is a small area of land with a diameter of just 0.4 miles (600 meters). Even today, Obuku is known for producing very rare, highest grade Sencha. In Japan, there are only a few places where top grade Sencha is produced , and the Obuku area in Uji is one of them. Obuku is located in mountain ravines, where tiny streams run, and the soil is full of minerals. The misty climate, sloping hills, warm days and cool nights provide a very ideal setting to grow the highest grade tea. Indeed, Sencha produced in the Obuku area was presented to the Japanese Empe...
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...quality of teas produced, as people competed for royal favour. One of the most famous of these tribute teas was dragon-phoenix ball tea, which was commonly grown and presented to the royal family. A special type, called Miynlong tea, was specially packed in a yellow silk and commonly presented to the emperor.
During the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) the first emperor, Zhu Yanzhang, formally abolished the tradition and government control of giving tribute tea. Once that happened, and a golden age of green tea innovation resulted. Production flourished and new production techniques, types and styles of tea were quickly tried. It was during this period that the use of loose leaf tea became dominant. Roasting (dry heating) of the tea to “fix” it to stop oxidation was introduced during the 16th century, and remains to this day the primary technique used to make green tea.
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