March 2023 – Karigane from Kyoto

This month we selected a Karigane (雁ヶ音) from Kyoto (京都), more precisely from the city of Uji (宇治).


Photo courtesy of the producer


Karigane (雁ヶ音) is a type of Japanese green tea that is made using the stems and stalks of the tea plant, instead of the leaves. It is also known as Bōcha (棒茶) in Kaga (加賀), or Kukicha (茎茶) in the rest of Japan.

The name "Karigane" comes from the sound of wild geese flying, which is said to resemble the rustling of the tea leaves and stems as they are harvested. The stems used in Karigane tea are usually those that are left over after the higher quality tea leaves have been picked. Depending on the Karigane, the stems and stalks used can be that of a Sencha (煎茶), a Kabusecha (かぶせ茶) or a Gyokuro (玉露). In the case of this tea, it is from a Sencha.

Karigane tea has a unique flavor that is slightly sweet and nutty, with a refreshing aftertaste. It is also low in caffeine, making it a popular choice for those who are sensitive to caffeine or who prefer a milder tea.

In Japan, Karigane is often enjoyed as a daily tea, but is also used in traditional tea ceremonies. It can be brewed hot or cold, and is often paired with light snacks or sweets. Karigane tea is also believed to have various health benefits, such as promoting relaxation and reducing stress, due to its low caffeine content and high levels of amino acids.


Miyako Odori

Miyako Odori is an annual dance performance held by the Geiko (芸子) and Maiko (舞妓) of Kyoto. The event takes place every year during the month of April. Miyako Odori is known for its beautiful dances and elaborate costumes, as well as for showcasing the skills of the geiko and maiko in traditional Japanese arts such as singing, dancing, and playing instruments.

The performances are held in the Gion district of Kyoto, and typically run for about an hour. The event also includes traditional tea and sweets served during intermissions, which provide a unique opportunity to experience Japanese hospitality and culture. Overall, Miyako Odori is a must-see event for anyone interested in Japanese culture and the arts.

Miyako Odori by Nullumayulife, used under CC BY 2.0 (cropped from original).

Brewing Karigane

The amount of tealeaves should be adapted according to the desired taste: it should be around 2 tablespoons (8 to 10 grams) of Karigane for 200ml (7oz) of spring water. The infusion should last around one minute in water at 80ºC (180ºF).

For the upcoming hot season, you can also prepare cold Karigane. Put a sachet (15 to 20 grams) in a bottle of 1 liter of spring water and leave it in the refrigerator for more than 6 hours. Then discard the sachet and keep the bottle in the refrigerator.

If you have questions about Japanese teas, please do not hesitate to contact us!