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YUNOMI / Art & Culture  / Welcome to the Chagenkyo Matsuri: Wazuka’s Teatopia Festival

Welcome to the Chagenkyo Matsuri: Wazuka’s Teatopia Festival

What is Chagenkyo?

Celebrating the long history of tea cultivation in Kyoto, the Chagenkyo Matsuri is a festival that has taken place annually for over 30 years. Located in the town of Wazuka, visitors can enjoy great tea and cultural education in a scenic location.Wazuka was one of the first places chosen to cultivate tea after it was imported from China over 800 years ago.

Photo credit: korean.visitkorea.or.kr

Photo credit: korean.visitkorea.or.kr

This year, Yunomi had the opportunity to attend this exciting event. The event was held over the course of a weekend and included many different activities such as various food vendors, tea ceremonies and tutorials, as well as farm tours and children’s games.

Bottomless Cups

Spending the day at the festival meant having the chance to try plenty of unusual tea based concoctions. My first stop was a shop offering matcha cream coffee. It was a delicious combination of two unlikely flavors.

Matcha Cream Topped Coffee Photo Credit: Victoria Garafola of Yunomi

Matcha Cream Topped Coffee
Photo Credit: Victoria Garafola of Yunomi

 

The stand also sold several Japanese confectioneries made with sweet rice and red beans. The friendly staff recommended purchasing the coffee and sweets as a set because the sweets are enhanced by the matcha flavor.

One stand selling matcha cream coffee at the Chagenkyo Matsuri. Photo Credit: Victoria Garafola of Yunomi

One stand selling matcha cream coffee at the Chagenkyo Matsuri.
Photo Credit: Victoria Garafola of Yunomi

Next I followed the line of stalls only to fall upon an unlikely face. An American whisking up alcoholic green tea matcha beverages. His drinks were delicious and unique. Highly recommended.

An American man serves alcoholic matcha specialty drinks at the Teatopia Festival in Kyoto on Sunday. Photo Credit: Victoria Garafola of Yunomi

An American man serves alcoholic matcha specialty drinks at the Teatopia Festival in Kyoto on Sunday.
Photo Credit: Victoria Garafola of Yunomi

Photo Credit: Victoria Garafola of Yunomi

Photo Credit: Victoria Garafola of Yunomi

We ordered Yuzu Matcha and Amaretto Matcha drinks. Although they look similar, they taste very different.

Activism

Along the way, I stopped by a stand collecting money to help Syrian citizens. They had “Stop Killing in Syria” signs and photos of support from many celebrities. The vendors said they’ve been participating in the festivities for the last four years.

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Photos show solidarity.

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“Congratulations”

Local Artisans

One shop from Nara sold bamboo handmade utensils. This vendor travels to Kyoto to see their goods annually at the festival. Visitors can buy tea tools such as whisks and spoons. The stall also sold good unrelated to tea like the flower vase pictured below.

Bamboo utensils made locally in Ikoma, Nara.

Bamboo utensils made locally in Ikoma, Nara.

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These tools were crafted locally in Nara.

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Flower vase for Japanese flower arrangement.

 

Hand dyed fabrics and accessories are displayed at one vendor. Dyes were created from tea, persimmon, and other natural ingredients. Kakishibu fabrics have recently gained the recognition they deserve in the fashion industry. These fabrics have antibacterial properties and are a symbol of Japanese culture.

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A vendor sells hand dyed goods.

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The products were available in a wide variety of natural colors and patterns.

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To my surprise, the garments were very soft to touch.

 

Tea Tasting & Tours

Of course, no tea festival would be complete without tea tasting. Japanese teas were displayed along with unusual teas from around the world.

Visitors were encouraged to try a variety of different teas. Photo Credit: http://chagenkyo-matsuri.jp/

Visitors were encouraged to try a variety of different teas.
Photo Credit: http://chagenkyo-matsuri.jp/

Local farms offered visitors the chance to tour the beautiful tea fields in the surrounding town. Visitors are also welcome to participate in traditional tea rolling.

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Our partners at Obubu tea sold freshly made drinks.

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Visitors were encouraged to participate in creating decoration for a cultural performance held later in the afternoon.

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Victoria Garafola
Victoria Garafola

Victoria is an American writer living in Osaka, Japan. She enjoys traveling to new countries and experiencing foreign culture.

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