About Japanese Tea

Japanese tea is known for its beautiful green color, the result of a process in which the leaves are steamed to prevent oxidation and fermentation before being rolled and dried. Japanese tea can produce many different types of tea leaves depending on the way the tree is grown or the process of manufacturing.

History

Tea culture in Japan is believed to have begun when Eisai, a Japanese Buddhist priest, brought tea leaves back from China. In those days, tea was prepared by mixing ground-up dry tea leaves with hot water, resulting into something similar to today's matcha (powdered green tea).

During the Edo period (1603-1867), the kind of Japanese green tea enjoyed today known as sencha, became popular amongst general public. Towards the end of the Edo period Japan started trading tea with foreign countries. 

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Eisai Zenshi

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Fuji from the Tea Plantation at Katakura in Suruga Province from Katsushika Hokusai's "Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji"

Shizuoka

Shizuoka took its place as the centre of Japanese tea culture around the middle of the Kamakura period (1185-1333) when another Buddhist priest, Shoichi Kokushi, returned from China bearing tea seeds. This marked the beginning of green tea production in Shizuoka.

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Shizuoka's Honyama tea was loved by the shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu (1543-1616) and from 1681 was supplied to the Tokugawa shogunate as official tea. During the Meiji Restoration (1868-1889), the Makinohara plateau, a famous tea production area, was cultivated by the Tokugawa clan members.

Shizuoka accounts for 40% of Japan's tea production, 60% of its distribution, and 40% of its tea garden area. The consumption of tea is twice the national average and the weather conditions are suitable for tea cultivation. Shizuoka's tea has won many awards such as the Emperor's Cup and the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Award.

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Sumpu-jyo Park, Shizuoka