It’s such a pretty green color, you’ll want to lick it … but it’s not candy!
No, it’s actually lip balm, and it comes from a source that you wouldn’t normally associate with cosmetics. The product is being sold by well-known Kyoto tea maker Gion Tsujiri, and it contains premium matcha green tea called Kento no Mukashi (a nostalgic and poetic name which can be roughly translated as “looking but to the foundation of an ancient capital city”).
The lip balm is made in collaboration with soap manufacturer Kyoto Shabon-ya, an outfit known for products made from carefully selected natural ingredients. And since the item comes from Gion Tsujiri, a tea maker founded in the famous tea-producing region of Kyoto’s Uji City over 150 years ago, they’ve naturally used quality tea to make the lip balm. Kento no Mukashi, which they’ve used in this case, is a premium powdered matcha tea that they released back in 1994 to celebrate the 1,200th anniversary of Kyoto’s foundation as a capital city. And just how “premium” is this tea? Well, just 40 grams (1.4 ounces) of the matcha costs 6,480 yen (US$63), so that should give you an idea.
The lip balm also contains seed oil from the camellia oleifera plant, which is actually related to the tea plant, for the rich, smooth texture that you would expect in a lip balm.
▼ The color really is an attractive green that is true to the image of matcha. The lip balm also has a subtle matcha fragrance.
The lip balm comes in an original “Gion Tsujiri design” package featuring the image of fresh, green tea leaves, making it visually attractive as a souvenir as well.
The matcha lip balm is available for 1,620 yen ($16) at the Gion Tusjiri shops in Gion, Kyoto Station Hachijo Exit and in Tokyo at the Tokyo Sky Tree Town Solamachi shop, as well as the Saryo Tsujiri shops in the Kyoto Isetan Department Store, Kodaiji, and the Daimaru Tokyo Department Store in Tokyo, and also through their online store.
Well, this certainly looks like a new and pleasant way to enjoy green tea without actually drinking it. And don’t worry, the product description page assures us that the lip balm won’t turn your lips green!