Marukyu-Koyamaen ranks among the foremost producers of fine teas in Japan. The renowned tea shop, Marukyu-Koyamaen consistently focuses on repeated training of tea production skills and the honing of specific techniques. Generations of succeeding directors have dedicated themselves to the pursuit of producing the finest teas and preserving their quality. This devotion ensures the highest quality not only of Marukyu-Koyamaen's teas superior taste but other fine properties as well. The motto of Marukyu-Koyamaen is "Making teas with quality as the highest priority."
For many years Marukyu-Koyamaen has taken many first and other top prizes at annual tea competitions held in Japan which appraise teas of different producers. The present director, Motoharu Koyama, has won two times in the mastery of tea inspection. The second time, he received full marks. This achievement has been highly praised and was a first in the history of competitive tea inspection.
Kyujiro Koyama began the cultivation and production of tea in Ogura, Uji, Japan, in the Genroku period (1688-1704). His work was the beginning of what was to become Marukyu-Koyamaen. During the following generations, the quality of tea was raised through improvements in all aspects of cultivation, treatment and production, thus establishing the tradition of Ujicha. The fourth generation began marketing the tea, and by the eighth generation, Motojiro, the market had been extended to the whole country. Today, Marukyu-Koyamaen stands for the highest quality standard in Japan.
Shouraien was established during the Ansei era (1854-1860), near the end of Japan's feudal period. The present owner of the shop is a fifth-generation descendent of the shop's founder, and the shop itself is housed in the original structure built during feudal times.
The family has its roots in Shiga Prefecture, an area just east of Kyoto that was famous throughout old Japan as the home of the Omi Shonin (Omi Merchants), whose guiding principle was that the merchant, the buyer, and the community should all benefit equally from any transaction. Excess profits and speculative investments were avoided--the stress was on the long term perspective. Through such acts as making donations to the local communities and keeping rice prices low during famines, the Omi Shonin won the esteem of the people wherever they lived.
Shouraien's fine matcha is favored by Kyoto's Chanoyu practitioners as well as generations of loyal customers.