Firstly, if you are visiting Japan you must consider trying a traditional Japanese tea ceremony, it will help you learn more about the customs of tea preparation and drinking in japan!
One thing that has become more and more prevalent around the western world (even in Starbucks) is "Matcha Tea"! Matcha is the highest grade of Japanese green tea and has numerous benefits including being high in antioxidants and energy boosting due to the natural caffeine content. It has a distinctive flavor and the way it is made makes all the difference. To make it, an exact measurement of matcha powder is added to a bowl and the precise temperature and amount of water is added. This is then whisked with a specific bamboo whisk (Chasen) to froth and ensure there are no lumps. The care and attention taken when this is skillfully made along with the pure grade powder all but guarantees a good cup of tea!
Tip - If you book one of our tours that visit Kyoto, this is the best place to try authentic matcha, and even if you are not a big green tea lover you can also try matcha that's been lovingly incorporated into many food items in Japan such as:
*Ice cream/gelato - Probably the easiest alternative way to try it - who doesn't love gelato?
*Tiramisu - a Japanese take on the Italian classic with the ladyfingers soaked in sake, and matcha powder is used instead of coffee. This is usually served in a beautiful wooden box so they can only be eaten in a restaurant.
*Matcha crepe layer cake - thinly layered matcha crepes stacked together with cream.
*Matcha Dorayaki - two small pancake-like sponges (with added matcha powder) filled with a sweet azuki bean paste. A complex and distinctive taste and a must-try in Japan!
*Matcha Baumkuchen (tree cake) - a German cake with a Japanese twist. A circular sponge cake with a hollow center that resembles the rings of a tree trunk once sliced. The sponge is moist and dense and is usually made with soy milk as well as good quality matcha. A perfect choice after a day spent within the Japanese forests.
*Matcha Kit Kat (Yes, you read that right! Even the popular UK biscuit snack has a matcha version!)