My final post in this Tokyo series is all about souvenirs – and yes there are so many things to bring back home from Japan. Patrick usually picks up a bottle of whiskey, whereas my favourite item to take back home is anything to do with green tea and matcha.
For me, one of the best places to stock up on tea is at a small shop in Akasaka: Dobashien tea. In 1892, Dobashien’s founder Tetsugoro Dobashi established a small tea shop in a quiet residential district on the outskirts of Tokyo – over the years, the city expanded and now this shop is in the heart of busy Akasaka-Mitsuke.
Still, it is a calming, relaxing shop. You can watch the owner and his staff measure and pack tea bags, or just try one of their flavoursome teas. The offer a small tea ceremony with a little sweet snack, that is paired well with the tea.
We usually pick up a mix of different teas – including genmai cha and hoji cha (which has less coffeine). Hoji cha is distinctive from other Japanese green teas because its leaves are reddish-brown. The tea is roasted, not steamed – and this process lowers the amount of caffeine in the tea.
Of course, the classic souvenir is a kit kat in a unique, Japanese flavour. While the green-tea flavoured ones are sold all over Hong Kong, I am always keen to try the other flavours. Over the years, I had tried strawberry, creme caramel, Hokkaido milk, wasabi and purple sweet potato. Let’s just say they are nice, but often very sweet… my friend Monica has posted more about these special Kit Kat flavours, but for now, let me just take a pic of the ones that I picked up a the convenience store at the corner: mint chocolate (the left ones).
Finally, the best gift – the one that I keep for myself… Maccha Bar chocolate by Royce. Almond Peanut and Cashew Nuts in Maccha chocolate. Crunchy and very addictive. Luckily they sell this flavour at Royce in Hong Kong too – so I can stock up if and when needed!
What do you usually pick up and bring back home from Japan?