The history of Yamato-cha (green tea from the Yamato region) dates back Nara period (710-784 AD), when Kentoshi (Japanese missions to Tang China) brought Dancha1 back.
It was first recorded when Emperor Shomu held the Gyocha-no-gi (a kind of tea ceremony) written in the Kuji Kongen2 in 729 and when he held a prayer of Kaigen (Buddha’s eye-opening ceremony) at the Todaiji temple.
According to the history of tea cultivation, the origin of Yamato-cha dates back 806 when Kobo-Daishi (the founder of the Shingon sect) planted the tea seeds, which he brought back from Tang China, at the Butsuryu-ji temeple in the Uda City, Nara.
The founder of the Japanese tea ceremony, Juko Murata was from the southern part of Nara and became an attendant at the Shomyoji temple.
1Dancha: tea bricks
To make Dancha, whole tea leaves were steamed, compressed into a mold, and dried. They were gifts to the imperial court in the Tang dynasty (618-907) and were favorite drinks for nobles.
2Kuji Kongen: a book on court rules of ceremonies and etiquettes written in the Muromachi period, 1336-1573 AD
Comments from tea producers:
Mr. Yoshinaga Nakano
Mr. Junichi Uekubo