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Amacha (hydrangea tea)

We use amacha for the ceremony of Buddha's birthday to bath the image of Buddha. Some of you might have drunk amacha at the flower festival. I remember when I was a child, I tasted amacha for the first time, and I was quite disappointed with the taste. Amacha is made with hydrangea leaves. To make amacha, first, rub the leaves, and then dry them to make tea. It is said that the custom of using amacha for the ceremony of Buddha's birthday is started in Edo era. In Shiga prefecture, there is a custom to place amacha in front of the Buddhist altar to serve them for the ancestors in June. The leaves has to be freshly picked before the flowers starting to bloom. In Edo era, the scholar "Ranzan Ono" introduced Amacha as the name of Japanese medicine "Dojosan" in his book "Honzou moumoku keimou". The book tells amacha is a family of hydrangea, but the name of the bleed is not specified in the book The book also says, Amacha is cultivated in Kyoto, but also grow wildly in mountain areas. Currently, amacha is chategolized as a variety of Japanese mountain hydrangea. However, by the theory of Shigeru Yamauchi from Meijyo University, it is also possible that Amacha was made by planting a cutting of mountain hydrangea. The oldest information of amacha stops at the book of "Honzou moumoku keimou". There are still lots of unknown things about Amacha including its origins. The research of Amacha is still be continuing.

(Junpei Yokoi)