Enjoying Japanese tea at temples
There are some temples in Kyoto where when you go buy an entrance ticket, you’re also offered the chance to buy a “matcha ticket” too, while others already include the price of matcha in the ticket price (like Hosen-in Temple). If you want to enjoy your matcha not in a temple but in a mountain villa, just head to Okochi Sanso Villa where you don’t only get matcha, you also get a postcard!
This style of drinking tea in a more carefree manner is in Japanese called nodate, meaning just that the tea is enjoyed outside. Even if at the temple the tea is served inside a room or a hall, it’s usually served in this simple style of nodate. For you this means that you don’t really need to worry about how many times to rotate the cup before drinking; you can just concentrate on enjoying the tea and the great seasonal views.
The matcha ticket here is 500 yen (as is the entrance fee) and you can decide whether you want your matcha before or after seeing the temple. The tea room is on the right side of the reception, and as only those who have bought the tea ticket, it’s usually not that crowded.
There is a small waterfall in front of the tea room, so not only do you get to a chance to sit down and enjoy matcha, you also get to enjoy a rather nice view.
The temple garden features a large pine tree that is said to be seven hundred years old. And not only is the tree old, it’s said to resemble Mt. Fuji. So by drinking matcha tea here at Hosen-in Temple, you not only get to enjoy a calm zen-like moment in northern Kyoto, you also get to enjoy a view of Mt. Fuji (well, almost).
You can also have a cup of matcha at this temple. The entrance fee is 500 yen, and the matcha is again 500 yen, which is the usual price for temple-matcha in Kyoto. The view of the garden is good and both the room you’re in and the garden feel very spacious.
So, to sum everything up, drinking tea at a temple is a relaxing activity which lets you take a break and sit down, and just forget about your busy temple-hopping itinerary for the moment.