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Category: Green Tea

Origin: JAPAN, Shiga Prefecture, Higashiomi region, Mandokoro Village

Cultivar: Zairai

Quantity: 40g per pack

Harvest: Early Spring (March)

Other: Natural farming



Mandokoro is located in the eastern side of the Shiga prefecture, east of Kyoto and west of Mie. While it is not well known for tea production (the quantity produced accounts to merely 3% of the total output for the Prefecture, Asamiya and Tsuchiyama being the main teas in Shiga), it is probably one of the most traditional and ancient teas of Japan, possibly more than 600 years of history.


As for several places in Japan, the tea cultivation was associated with the arrival of Zen Buddhism in Japan. Mandokoro is also such a place: the Eigen-ji temple (永源寺), founded in 1361 during the Muromachi Period, located in Higashiomi is at the origin of tea cultivation in Mandokoro: according to the city records, monk Ekkei (5th successor of Eigen-ji) found that the area was suitable for tea cultivation due to the geology, temperature difference, and fog rising from the river.


A famous tea-picking song was known as "Uji is a teahouse, tea is a mandokoro".

However, I recent years most farmers have abandoned tea cultivation in Mandokoro due to difficulties in succession, and the production volume has fallen to less than one-thirtieth of what it was during its peak.


There are also records that Mandokoro tea was served to Oda Nobunaga.



Hira means flat in Japanese which refers to the shape of the leaves, that are flattened during processing. The fresh leaves are pressed and steamed in a wooden container,  then carefully dried.

Hirabancha is often produced three times per year (spring, summer and autumn) and made from lower big leaves.

Our Hirabancha is the spring one, harvested just after the snow melt. 


Hirabancha are typically stored for over 6 months before being consumed. They actually get better with time.


The color of Hirabancha is golden green. As it is made from lower leaves, it contains about half of the caffeine of typical green teas. 

The flavour and taste are pretty unique. It is completely different from other green teas like Sencha, Gyokuro or traditional Bancha (that is pan-fired).


We could describe it as woody but gentle, a mix of green and roasted feeling. It is excellent both hot and cold-brewed. Definitely a must try.



4g (0.14oz) of leaves per serving

80ml of water at 95-100°C (203-212°F)

First brew: 60 seconds

Subsequent brews: 80 seconds


Cold brew: 10g of leaves for 1L of cold water. Brew for 12-15 hours in the fridge at 5°C. Filter the liquor in another bottle and keep it in the fridge. You may re-brew the spent leaves a second time as you like.