Shizuoka Green Tea Museum of Ochanosato お茶の里
Makinohara and Shimada alone produce between 45 and 55% of Japanese green tea. With its landscapes formed by huge tea fields on hillsides, of course it was only natural that a tea museum be created here.
Ocha no sato however would rather be thought of as less of a museum, and more of an experience around the tea, while slowly discovering the tea culture in Japan. This culture is rooted deeply in the Japanese soul and can not be reduced only to the consumption of tea: this alone covers a big part of traditional Japanese culture, closely linked to the arts and zen Buddhism.
It is by respecting the spirit of tea that visitors will be offered a cup on arrival before entering the actual exhibition. The different varieties of tea and various tea rooms, from Japan to the UK through the reconstitution of the famous Shanghai Huxinting lounge are exposed. You will learn that the samurai culture is closely linked to Japan's history of tea.
But the real point of interest of Ocha no Sato is a little further in the Shomokuro teahouse. The creators of the museum sought authenticity by rebuilding a tea house, identical to the one at the beginning of the Edo period by the famous magistrate Kobori Enshu. The visitor can taste several types of tea but mostly attend demonstrations of tea ceremony performed on demand and without reservation.
The tea house is in a garden which is also a reproduction of the East Garden of the Imperial Palace, Sento Gosho, in Kyoto , as it was in the seventeenth century. Before entering the teahouse you will cross a wooden bridge, a transition between the modern buildings of the museum and the past in the offices of Kobori Enshu.
Tea lovers can obviously buy tea but also produce their own matcha tea powder by reducing powder leaves, all for free. As if that was not enough the Moegi restaurant, dedicated to specialties made from tea, will complete your tour of tea with its exquisite cuisine. Now it is time to get on the terrace of the museum to admire Mount Fuji, overlooking the tea fields surrounding you.
Ocha no sato is in itself a visit to Shimada. You will also find around a section of the old Tokaido road for hikers, the steam locomotive Oigawa line, and magnificent views of the tea fields in Makinohara. As you can see, you will have every reason to stop by.
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