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Tea Tasting Games Held at Court

At the beginning of the 14th century, it is thought that tea tasting games, or tôcha, were popular in Kyoto. The participants had to guess where the tea had been grown. These games were held even in the court. The Imperial Household Agency holds Hanazono Tennô Shinki, a personal diary written by Emperor Hanazono (1297 – 1348).

One day in summer 1332, he wrote “we had a tea tasting game” and “prizes were awarded to the winners”, showing that the games were played at the highest level of the court.

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