As we all know, green tea was an integral part of culture in Japan for many centuries. Even today, green tea is identified with Japan and you can find that it is taken by the whole population of Japan in many different ways.
You may be surprised to know that Japanese tea is much different from Chinese tea in number of ways. It was however, China from where the green tea travelled to Japan.
Few historical facts
- Chinese were aware about the green tea benefits since 8000 to 9000 years ago. It was discovered during 2700 BC by a legendry Chinese emperor called Shennong.
- There is historical evidence available from the mausoleum of emperor called Jing of Han in Xi, which emperors of Han dynasty used to drink green tea from Camellia during second century BC.
- During first century BC a book mentions that tea was considered as an herb.
- During 59 BC a first book was written that mentions how this tea can be prepared, when it was a luxury item.
- During the year 618 to 907, Tang dynasty promoted green tea cultivation in China. Green tea leaves were made into solid cake after drying them so that it was quite easy to carry by without damaging leaves.
- Around 760 AD, detailed book was written by a person called Lu Yu with full detail about how to brew it, cultivate it and also various health benefits that you can get from Green tea.
- From China it moved to Japan during 618AD during Tang dynasty and the first seed of green tea was brought to Japan. Besides that, there were lots of cultural exchanges that took place between China and Japan.
- During the period of 710 to 794, only priest and noble men in Japan were using green tea. Tea during those days was considered as herbal medicine both in China as well as Japan.
- During 786 to 842, emperor Saga started encouraging more cultivation of tea and tea drinking became a part of culture in Japan. Nihon Kouki wrote first time in Japan about tea drinking culture in Japan. Along with Buddhist religion the tea was also spread in this region.
- During the era of Nara and Heian the Buddhism was spread to Japan from China and many monks travelled to China and learnt about this religion and founded various schools in Japan.
During 795 to 1185 numbers of Buddhist monks travelled between China and Japan and also brought with them seeds of green tea.
- Emperor Saga learnt that Buddhist monks were bringing tea seeds so he took personal interest and started promoting the culture of tea plantation in Japan.
- With the personal effort of emperor Saga tea cultivation was popularized and his efforts had really influenced to a large extent in promoting tea culture in Japan.
- However, due to various financial difficulties, 49 of his children had to renounce the throne during 823 which had hindered the growth of tea in the Japan.
- However, Buddhist monks liked the tea so much that its growth continued and rest is history.