The city of Uji, the namesake of Hoji Cha, is one of Japan's most ancient places. The city is home to the Byodoin, recognized by UNESCO as the world's oldest wooden structure. It was built in 1053 and amazingly, still stands. The region has been home to tea gardens and tea pluckers for centuries and is to this day recognized as one of Japan's foremost green tea growing regions. Tagami Kikusha, a Japanese Poet living during those ancient times wrote about life in the area while living in another of Uji's famous buildings, the Manpuku Temple,
one step outside
The temple gate, its Japan
a tea-picker's song
Translated into English, the poem is a little cryptic. In Japanese, the short poem captures the warm feelings of joy felt by the pickers as they worked in the tea gardens - tea was considered a sacred and divine gift by the ancient Japanese.