Honzu is a cover for tea plants, and tea cultivation using honzu has been used since the Muromachi Era (14th to 16th Century) to produce Gyokuro and Tencha (unground Matcha).
Screens made of reed taken from Lake Biwa are spread on a rack over the tea plants, and then straws of rice are put on the screen. By avoiding the sunshine with this screen, theanine, a sweet tasting constituent of tea leaves, is prevented from changing to catechin, an astringent. Tea leaves grown by the cultivation using honzu are very precious as the tea brewed this way has excellent flavor as well as a mellow and rich taste. Tea leaves for this product are harvested by hand in the middle of May at our tea garden in Yuden district, Uji City.