During a recent trip to Japan, I met up with a dear friend and fellow tea enthusiast to spend a day at the festival. Travel from Kyoto is one hour by train and the festival provides free round trip shuttle service between Kamo Station and Wazuka Sports Park.
The courtesy shuttle dropped us off near the festival entrance and Wazuka Tea Cafe (和束茶カフェ) which sells a wide selection of locally-produced teas and festival goods. The Cafe also serves prepared tea and dessert and staff will happily provide guidance on traditional tea preparation.
After enjoying the music, tea, and food in the exhibition area, we walked to the Indoor/Outdoor Tea Ceremony demonstrations at Wazuka Terrace.
Keiko, a fellow tea blogger from Kyoto, provided guidance as we enjoyed our tea and wagashi (tea sweet). We learned that you can eat infused Okumidori tea leaves with ponzu sauce, but Tencha leaves are not good to eat.
A matcha grinding demonstration followed the tea service and I had the opportunity to give the grinder a few turns.
Tea Tours were available throughout the day with four course options and three departure times for each course.
My friend and I joined the 1.5 miles (2.5km) Course B Tea Tour: Tea Fields and Nara Period History. This course took us up to the hilltop burial site of Prince Asaka (728-744), passing through tea fields, traveling up stone steps to visit Shoboji Temple, before returning to the festival grounds.
Wazuka is beautiful and Chagenkyo Matsuri was great fun! Thanks to everyone who put so much effort into making this possible and to Keiko especially for sharing her tea knowledge!