If there is one place in Japan to arrive absolutely gasping for a cup of tea, that place is Uji in Kyoto Prefecture. Since the 13th century, this town just to the south of Kyoto has been producing green tea, and many consider the green stuff of Uji to be the best in the land. As one might suppose, this opinion is the one that generally holds sway in Uji itself.

“What is the best and most famous Japanese tea?” the official guidebook coyly asks in its introductory note. And lest any misguided reader starts trying to recall place names in Shizuoka Prefecture — famous for its tea — the guide rapidly answers “Uji Green Tea!”

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