Even at a glance, you can tell the Gion Tsujiri Sarei Bottled Green Tea isn't your average tea. No plastic bottle, vending machine, get-it-anywhere stuff: this is the real deal, top-quality tea from Uji, near Kyoto, prepared and bottled (in two sizes) by Gion Tsujiri, a store in Kyoto's Gion area (where the geisha are) that has been specializing in the best-of-the-best tea since the end of the Edo period (1860 to be precise). And a great match for umami-rich food like sushi and sashimi!
But there's also a story behind Gion Tsujiri Sarei Bottled Green Tea: sarei means "the ritual of tea" as performed in Zen monasteries, but the "rei" for "ritual" has been replaced here by another character, also read "rei" but meaning "zero" – as in extinguishing all your anxieties and stress, and just experiencing the present moment, which is one of the basic teachings of Zen Buddhism. As for the illustration on the bottle, this is also related to Zen: the images in both bottles are a famous painting of the deities of wind and thunder (Fujin and Raijin) that is housed in Kennin-ji, one of Kyoto's biggest Zen temples!
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