Green tea soon became part of the staple diet of the Buddhist priesthood and gradually the idea of the tea ceremony became popular. The practice of reading poetry, painting, writing calligraphy and discussing philosophical issues, whilst drinking tea, originated in China in the twelfth century. The Japanese however, adopted this and developed it into an important aspect of society. By the sixteenth century, important meetings between clan leaders invariably took place against the serene setting of the tea ceremony.
Today, Japanese tea plantations, are centred near Kyoto, at the base of Mount Fuji. Japanese tea gardens are different from those in other parts of the world, because the bushes are cultivated side by side in long strips, rather than being spaced apart. This gives the impression of smooth waves of green tea bushes rolling across the hillside.