We no longer run this tour. Please take a look at the tours we currently run.

On this activity, you’ll get to brew and taste four or five single-origin Japanese teas from independent tea farmers from across Japan. Along the way you’ll learn how tea cultivation techniques and processing methods result in entirely different-tasting teas. This isn’t a tea ceremony, so the tea takes center stage.

I’ll take you step-by-step through the whole process, including the ideal brewing temperatures, steeping times, and what to look out for in each tea. You’ll also taste mind-blowing umami—or savory flavors—that only premium teas can offer.

You’ll also get to meet the owners of the teahouse, who are well-known in the tea community because of their encouragement for independent tea farmers to experiment with new cultivars and processing methods.

There’ll be a huge selection of teas from Japan, Taiwan, and China. You’ll also be able to buy the tea that you like at the end of our tea tasting session.

What we’ll do

I’ll meet you at Kintetsu Nara Station, which is around an hour from Kyoto or Osaka by train. Nara is famous for the deer and the Big Buddha at Todaiji Temple. Next, I’ll take you through the historic district of Naramachi, where we’ll stop by a machiya—townhouse—for a look at traditional Nara before we get to the tea house for the tasting.

This experience
  • Is in English
  • An intimate experience: No more than 5 teaheads per group
  • Starts at the Kintetsu Nara Station at 2:30pm
  • Ends at the Kintetsu Nara Station
What this tour is not about
  • Formal tea ceremony (but I know two fantastic places for that: Chasanraku in Arashiyama and Ami Kyoto in Higashiyama)
  • Fixated ways of thinking about tea (the Yoneyamas and I believe that tea should be enjoyed the way you like it)
  • Strict codes of conduct (feel free to stretch out and relax)

Can I just show up or do I need a reservation?
You need a reservation so that we can ensure a small group size.

Can you design an itinerary for Nara?
Yes, I can provide suggestions and plans for what to do and see in Nara if you book this tour.

More questions and answers below.

Lee Xian Jie
Your Guide: Lee Xian Jie

I love tea and drink it almost every day. Originally a documentary filmmaker in Singapore, I arrived in Japan to study at Waseda University in 2012. The onsen, ramen, and breathtaking mountain trails captivated me, and I’ve been here ever since. I would love to introduce you to the wonderful world of independently-produced, single-origin Japanese teas.

Your questions, answered

Nara was the capital of Japan before the capital got moved to Kyoto. So there are temples, gardens, and shrines that are incredibly beautiful. I can come up with an itinerary (with food stops) if you write to me (hello@crafttabby.com).

Yes, just let me know where it is and I can send you the best route to Nara and back.

The tea tasting set will include 4-5 kinds of tea, including premium sencha and gyokuro.

After the first two teas, we will decide together whether to taste teas that have more umami, sweetness, or fragrance.

The tea house has a wide selection of rare Japanese, Chinese, and Taiwanese teas you will not see elsewhere. There will be light snacks (dried fruits, nuts, or confectionery) to go with the tea.

Please let me know by email in advance if you have any food allergies or preferences and I will make the necessary arrangements.