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Karigane: Japanese Green Tea : HOJO TEA

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HOME > Green Tea > Karigane

When Steam Longer, The Sencha Becomes Less Bitter and Very Mellow Taste.


Karigane is the name of sencha that is made of stem only. It is the same tea as Kukicha or Bocha. However, usually Karigane is of good quality tea. When we mention about “stem tea”, some might wonder why we have to drink tea from “stem”. Most of us who’ve never tried Karigane might have such skeptical view. In any event, please try this tea at least once. Only after trying it, your perception will change. The stem gives a very sweet and less bitter taste to the tea. It makes the tea very delicious to enjoy.


In fact, the good quality Karigane is always consumed by the manufacturers themselves. Usually stem tea is cheaper than leaf tea, yet it is very delicious to drink. The farmers know this very well and therefore they like to keep sufficient quantity for their own drinking.


Most of Karigane (Kukicha) that introduced to the market is either plucked 2nd batch or 3rd batch. The stem made of late-plucked tea gives astringency to the taste. This type of late-plucked Kukicha or Karigane is commonly sold in the supermarkets and departmental stores. Due to its astringent taste, this type of tea has to be intensively baked with fire. As a result, most of the original fresh and sweet flavor is lost during the baking process.


Our Karigane is produced in Kikugawa. We particularly selected stems from leaves plucked early in spring. Early harvested tea always gives a sweet aroma and lacks bitter or astringent taste. The quality stem is segregated during the process of sencha making, by using an electrostatic sorting machine. And then we conduct baking with moderate heat as to bring up the flavor, which is like rice.


Although the cost of this tea is not as high as Sencha, it is rather a good tea to drink on a regular occasion or after meals. You can brew tea as many times as 6 to 7 brewing. You can also enjoy this tea brewed with cold water.


雁が音 雁が音
Karigane is elastic and soft if you touch the stem after being brewed.

Tea is translucent and light green in color. It gives a thick body and strong up-coming aroma.

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Hojo Standard Brewing Method

(1) Water

In you are using tap water, it is necessary to filter the water using an activated carbon filter. If not, you wouldn’t be able to enjoy the authentic taste of tea. Chlorine is added to tap water in order to sanitize bacteria. This chlorinated water will also harm our body cells. Concerning about our health condition, it is very important to remove chlorine from drinking water. The most effective method in removing chlorine is to install an activated carbon filter. This type of filter is designed for removing organic substance. It will remove not only chlorine, but also other harmful substance such as contaminated pesticide. The activated carbon filter can be easily obtained from the common hardware shop in most countries. If activated carbon filter is not available, please place a charcoal inside the water and leave it for over night. The material composed of activated carbon filter is made of ground charcoal.  The difference is that activated carbon filter contains much finer particles and hence it has extremely large surface area for a better efficiency in filtration. We do not suggest RO water (reversed osmosis water) or distilled water. This water carries no mineral, the taste and flavor of tea tends to be very unstable, unless you have very superior quality tea and tea equipment.

It is also advisable not to use fresh tap water. The intensity of after taste becomes stronger if water is kept overnight. Keeping water with stones or inside clay jar will increase the content of minerals. However, you need to confirm whether or not the water kept inside particular jar or with stone is suitable with your tea or tea equipment (such as teapot). If water jar carries certain minerals like copper or zinc, it will rather spoil the taste and flavor of tea. For this, you need to confirm with experiment on try and error basis.

For boiling water, please do not use aluminum or copper kettle. It spoils the taste of water. We suggest using kettle made of iron, stainless steel, tin or glass. 
In the long run, you may observe a thick layer of scale accumulated inside your kettle. Our mother usually taught us to wash and remove it with citric acid. But please do not even try to remove the scale. Scale consists of minerals that exist in the water. The percentage of minerals is according to water you used. If you remove the scale, the mineral ion balance between scale and water is destroyed. This balance is called buffer effect in science. The flavor and taste will seriously run out and you won’t be able to get previous taste and flavor for a long time. It is also important to stick to the same type of water whenever brewing tea. If source of water is changed, it carries different type of minerals. It will affect the mineral ion balance too.

Go to further information about suitable water for brewing tea >>


(2) Quantity of tea leaves

One tablespoon = 3 g


Please use 1g of tea leaf for 50ml of water. For example, it is 4g if you use 200ml of water.

To determine the quantity of tea leaves to be used, we divide the volume of water by 5. For example: the volume of teapot = 200ml; 200ml/50 =4g. You need to measure 4g of tea leaves for 200ml of water.

(3) Temperature

It is important not to use boiling water. Boiling water should be poured into an empty glass or any container, let it cool down until you can hold the glass by hand for 5 seconds. Usually the temperature is relatively higher for Deep Steamed Sencha at around 80-85 degree Celsius. For second brewing onwards, brewing time must be less than a few seconds. It is as short as just run through hot water.

(4) Brewing time

Pour the hot water into the tea pot, and brew for 1 minute. For the second brewing onwards, brewing time must be less than a few seconds.

(5) Serving method

Traditionally, the Japanese never use a pitcher. The tea is directly poured from the tea pot into respective tea cups. In order to make the concentration evenly, we have to pour one cup after another, repeating a few times until the last drop of tea. However it is absolutely more convenient and advisable to use a simple pitcher. The purpose of pouring until the last drop is to extract the concentrated liquor. This is important as tea leaves must be filtered well and kept without water to avoid the liquor becoming bitter and stewed. Besides, it prevents tea leaves from being over cooked. In addition, filtration will make it ready for the second brewing.
After pouring the tea, you have to leave the lid open to avoid further steaming of tea leaves.

Brewing method using Hohin

Storage of tea leaf


Keep tea away from moisture


Once a bag of tea is opened, please finish it within 3 months if you wish to enjoy its freshness. From the medical point of view, it is safe to consume the tea even if it is kept for a few years. However the freshness disappears if it is kept for too long. Tea must be tightly sealed before it is kept. Tea should be kept in ambient and dry conditions such as in the living room, but it must be completely away from humidity. Tea should not be kept in the kitchen as the environment is very humid. Avoid enclosed area such as inside the cupboard or drawer as these places are damp. Also avoid opening the bag of tea in humid atmosphere. It is recommended to open the bag during a sunny day or under air-conditioned atmosphere. Once tea leaves absorb moisture, deterioration of tea will be triggered within a few days. Tea will then give an astringent taste, sometime might even taste sour. The fresh aroma also becomes weaker.


Beware of keeping the tea in the fridge


The quality of tea lasts longer if it is kept in the fridge. However we strongly recommend you not to keep tea in the fridge. When tea is withdrawn from the fridge, usually water condensation will take place. Once tea is exposed to moisture because of water condensation, the quality will deteriorate within a few days. The higher moisture content in the tea leaves triggers oxidation and it will completely spoil the quality of tea.

Here’s one frequently asked question: what if I seal the bag using tape or what if I pack the tea in a zipper bag and store in the fridge?

For your information, these simple sealing methods are not sufficient. When the bag is withdrawn from the fridge, it is cold inside the bag and therefore causes negative pressure. Air will be drawn from outside and water condensation will take place. In addition, if the bag is frequently taken in and out from the fridge, this will cause heat stress to the tea leaves as temperature is increased and decreased very frequently. If tea is kept in the fridge, when it is withdrawn from the fridge, it is necessary to leave it in ambient atmosphere for more than 24 hours in order to warm up the tea leaves. Based on our experience, 12 hours is not long enough. We may think tea is warmed up, but inside the bag, the tea leaves are still cold due to insulation.


Safety as a Part of HOJO's Quality


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We accept various kinds of credit card through Paypal.

Only if customer prefer other option of payment, we suggest "Bank Transfer".



Various choice of shipping method

EMS, SAL, Small Packet, Small Packet (SAL) Yamato Express and Surface

For shipping tea, we usually suggest small air parcel, the estimated shipping cost of tea in 100g (with wrapping material ) is

Small Parcel

USA JPY 600, EU JPY600 and Asia JPY470

Small Packet (SAL)

USA JPY380, EU JPY380 and Asia JPY320

The shipping fee to oversea by small air parcel happens to be even cheaper than domestic shipping fee in Japan.


Custom Fee

For your information, some countries, EU in particular imposes custom duty. We need buyer to bare the duty. We are sorry, but we cannot change the amount on the invoice, and we do not mark any packages as gifts. We will strictly follow the custom regulation.

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