Kyoto and Uji
Uji, a region just outside the former Japanese capital of Kyoto, is the crème de la crème of tea production. Rich in history and culture, it boasts the largest and highest quality tencha crop in all of Japan. The surrounding prefectures of Kyoto, Shiga, Mie, and Nara contribute to the region's famed matcha blends, which have supplied the nobility in Kyoto for centuries. Notably, the tea origins of Kyoto can be traced back to the earliest days of tea consumption in Japan. A visit to Uji is an essential pilgrimage for any tea connoisseur seeking to understand and appreciate the essence of Japanese tea.
Nestled in the heart of Japan's scenic Mount Fuji region lies Shizuoka, the country's foremost producer of tea. The prefecture boasts an expansive variety of teas and is renowned for its high-volume production. It's fascinating to note that the cultivation of tea in the region was spearheaded by the samurai class after they lost their exalted status at the end of the Edo period in 1868. Taking to the Makinohara plains, they honed their skills in tea cultivation, taking advantage of the region's mild climate and ideal growing conditions. Today, Shizuoka stands as a testament to the enduring legacy of Japan's tea culture.
Miyazaki, located on the scenic southeastern coast of Kyushu, boasts a stunning blend of verdant mountains and glistening coastal waters, making it a coveted destination for surfers year-round. But what sets Miyazaki apart in the world of tea production is its use of the ancient Chinese pan-frying technique for crafting tea leaves. This method, a stark contrast to the steaming process typically used in the rest of Japan, is a true testament to the region's intimate tea production and the long-standing history of tea cultivation in Miyazaki - one of the first regions in Japan to import tea from China.
The Wild One (Yamacha) is wild grown in the highland forests of Miyazaki.
Kagoshima, situated at the southernmost point of the Kyushu island, is a place that prides itself on its unapologetically bold flavours. Its landscape, characterized by rich volcanic soil and abundant sea, provides a unique terroir that imparts a distinct taste to the tea grown here. After Shizuoka, Kagoshima holds the second position in terms of tea production volumes and cultivated area. It is blessed with a warmer climate, which allows for many harvests year-round. To prevent the tea from becoming overly bitter due to prolonged exposure to sunlight, tea plants are carefully shaded and cultivated using low astringency cultivars.
The Regal (Matcha) is grown as Tencha in the Kirishima volcanic mountain region of Makizono, in Kagoshima.