For the Japanese, the drinking of green tea, in the proper way, is a Zen experience. At Fukujuen, a six story store in Kyoto dedicated to green tea in it’s many forms, you can get an understanding of how important green tea is to Japanese culture, and have the unique opportunity to custom blend your very own personalized green tea mix with a tea educator.

Sitting with the English speaking but traditionally presented tea educator in the basement level of Fukujuen, we took almost an hour to sample and mix various types of green teas, ranging from rare and expensive to cheaper varieties (interestingly, just like with whisky, sometimes the cheaper teas are better in blends than the more expensive ones). Once blended, each tea is served precisely in a mini tea ceremony (you can experience a full on traditional tea ceremony on the 4th floor) and once decided upon, your custom blend is beautifully packaged and ready to purchase. The blend I selected worked out as $30 for 30 grams, but worthwhile for the free education that came with it.

Upstairs there are ceramics galleries showcasing perfect tiny porcelain teapots and cups that cost anywhere from a couple of hundred to a couple of thousand dollars, and a floor of the sweets traditional served with green tea, and a French inspired restaurant serving only green tea infused cuisine. There is also a less formal café serving tea and snacks. Fukujuen is a beautiful shopping experience, and the only store in Kyoto to allow the public to blend their own personal variety of tea.