International Studies & Programs

Omi Tea in Michigan

Where to get tea from Shiga

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Published: Monday, 17 Feb 2020 Author: Michaela Smith

Over 1,200 years ago, Saicho, Buddhist monk from Omi (the old name for Shiga) went to China to study religion and came back to Japan with something extra: tea seeds. He established the new Tendai School and founded its headquarters at Enryaku-ji, a temple in Otsu on Mt. Hiei. The tea seeds were planted around that temple, and thus began Japan's long history and culture of tea. You can visit the first tea garden, Hiyoshi Tea Garden, at the base of Mt. Hiei. The plants there are distant relatives of the very first tea plants in Japan, and the tea there is still produced in the traditional way.

Thanks to the Michigan-Shiga sister state relationship, some restaurants and tea houses in Michigan carry Omi Tea! Those of us in the states can experience the history of Japanese tea at home while supporting businesses in both Michigan and Shiga.

Here is a list of tea shops and restaurants selling or using Omi Tea in Michigan:

a cup of green tea next to a teapotTeaHaus, Ann Arbor

Global Infusion, Grand Rapids

Eli Tea Bar, Birmingham

Goldfish Tea, Royal Oak

Light of Day Organics, Traverse City

Soup Spoon Cafe, Lansing