Tea Experiences in Ureshino
Ureshino, a city on Japan’s southwesternmost main island Kyushu, is famed for the quality of its tea. Production began here in the 16th century, with Ureshino leaves subsequently winning nationwide acclaim. Under the banner of “Tea Tourism,” respected local tea masters invite visitors to sample their teas in one-of-a-kind venues set among the fields where the leaves are harvested. Four different programs are offered, including tea ceremony experiences in chic, mostly open-air, tea houses, or tea spaces.
Participants can choose from four architecturally diverse venues—Tenchadai; Morinochashitsu; Chatou; and Yoshida Chashitsu—to experience the time-honored spirit of enjoying tea in an unhurried, contemplative manner. Sip tea on a tranquil deck with views of the mountains around Ureshino, at Tenchadai, or survey the vast rows of tea plants from a raised platform amid the tea fields, at Chatou. Morinochashitsu is a roofless, highly minimalist wooden structure enclosed on all sides by groves of hinoki cypress and Japanese cedar trees. For an indoor experience, try Yoshida Chashitsu, a stylish tea house and pottery gallery, in the birthplace of Hizen Yoshida ceramics.
“Tea Butler” is the most exclusive experience offered. It includes accommodation at the Wataya Besso inn, with guests attended by a dedicated concierge who is an expert in Ureshino tea culture. Among their duties, the concierge works with a chef to devise tea and food pairing, and guides guests through tea ceremony experiences. Visitors wishing to independently explore the tea fields of Ureshino can choose “Tea Cycling” or “Walking Tea” experiences.