Kyoto and Uji
The most historically and culturally significant tea region is Uji, just outside of the ancient Japanese capital of Kyoto. This made it a strategically good location to produce, process, and distribute tea that was supplied to the nobility in Kyoto. Uji is especially famous for matcha, and grows the largest amount of high quality tencha (the raw material that is made into matcha) in all of Japan. It is interesting to note that the famous matcha from Uji is typically a blend of teas from the surrounding Kyoto, Shiga, Mie, and Nara prefectures. Historically, the tea origins of Kyoto go all the way back to the beginnings of tea consumption in Japan.
The Free Spirit (Hojicha powder) is grown in the Kyoto region and ground in Uji. The Regal (Matcha) is ground in Uji.
Shizuoka (the prefecture famous for Mount Fuji) is the number one tea region in Japan for production volume. This prefecture is known for its large variety and high-volume production of tea. At the end of the Edo period in 1868, when samurai lost their privileged status, they started to grow tea in the Makinohara plains. Tea plants are sensitive to frost, so the mild climate in Shizuoka provides ideal conditions for tea cultivation.
The Evergreen (Sencha) and The Popstar (Genmaicha) are both grown in Shizuoka.
Located on the southeastern coast of the island of Kyushu, Miyazaki is known for its beautiful mountainous and coastal scenery. It also offers amazing surfing conditions all-year round.
The tea production on the southern island of Kyushu includes Miyazaki, which is famous for a Chinese pan-frying technique of tea leaf production. This is an ancient method, differentiating from the steaming process which the rest of Japan typically uses. It is an intimate production but one of the most ancient in Japan as one of the first region to be exposed to first tea imported from China.
The Wild One (Yamacha) is wild grown in the highland forests of Miyazaki.
Located at the southernmost point of Kyushu, Kagoshima prefecture is famous for is famous for bold flavours that highlight the richness of its landscape, from the volcanic rich soil to the abundant sea.
After Shizuoka, Kagoshima holds the second position in terms of tea production volumes and cultivated area. It is a warmer area compared to other tea regions in Japan, which allows for many harvests year-round. To avoid bitterness in flavour due to strong exposure to sunlight, tea plants are often shaded and use cultivars that are low in astringency.
The Regal (Matcha) is grown as Tencha in the Kirishima volcanic mountain region of Makizono, in Kagoshima.