The tea ceremony, or cha no yu, is one of Japan's best-known traditions, and you'll have many opportunities to discover this ancient art form during your stay. Some ryokans, for example, usually offer them to guests.
Kyoto is the tea capital of Japan, with several of the country's biggest plantations located nearby and tea houses throughout the city. There's the Camellia House in Ninenzaka, which is close to the major monuments. You can pop in to attend a tea ceremony here before visiting Kiyomizu temple. When leaving Kyoto, we recommend heading south to make a stop in the town of Uji. This town's specialty is matcha green tea, and you'll find all kinds of matcha-flavored baked goods and ice cream there. You can also watch how traditional matcha tea is prepared at the ancient tea house.
To learn more about the tea's history, visit the village of Wazuka, around 25 miles south of Kyoto. Here, you can rent a bike and explore the nearby tea plantations. Make sure to stop and enjoy a fresh cup while you're there. Some of these plantations even offer guided tours and tastings.