The Matcha tea – vivid green and whisked to a froth – was served under the canopy of the wooden teahouse at Hokokuji Temple. We slipped it slowly from ceramic bowls and listened to the countless cicadas buzzing in the thick bamboo grove surrounding us.
The traditional Matcha was slightly bitter, but was accompanied by adorable tiny higashi candies – small, pressed sugar treats formed into the shapes of Chrysanthemums and leaves. My Japanese friend instructed me to hold the small higashi in my mouth as I sipped the tea to add sweetness to the drink. The tea was already quite delicious, but the sugar enhanced the flavour even more. It was so peaceful to rest at the narrow wooden table and look up at the tall bamboo trees while planning a day of exploring Kamakura. A rich sensory memory I will never forget.
Hokokuji Temple is a Zen Buddhist temple, about a 10 minute bus ride from Kamakura station. Take #23, #24 or #36 and enjoy the ride through the quiet residential neighborhood filled with traditional Japanese homes. Entrance to the temple with additional charge for the tea was less than 1000 Yen.