Together with Uji (Kyoto) and Sayama (Saitama), Shizuoka Prefecture is traditionally known as one of the top three tea regions in Japan. Yet, not many know that this beautiful region not so far from Tokyo, in fact, produces about half of all the tea grown in Japan — and that’s a lot of ocha! The prefecture seems to be hardwired for tea production with its naturally rolling hills, clean water, and pleasant climate against the postcard-perfect backdrop of Mount Fuji. Tea plantations span the entire prefecture from the Tenryu River basin in the west to the foothills of Mount Ashitaka in the east. The most prevalent variety of tea grown in Shizuoka is yabukita and today, it’s become the prefecture’s main brand.
If you’re not a green tea connoisseur, however, you may not be aware than ocha isn’t just ocha. In fact, ocha, a generic term for green tea in Japan ranges from matcha (tea leaves grown in shade then ground into powder), gyokuro(high-quality tea leaves grown in the shade), sencha (tea leaves picked, steamed, rolled, and dried), hojicha (roasted tea), and genmaicha (green tea mixed with roasted brown rice). If you’re itching to dive into the tea capital of Japan, the following guide introduces the main regions in Shizuoka where you can get the best of the region’s tea and learn much about the drink’s varieties, produce and tastes. If you travel there for the purposes of par-teaing, you know where to go.
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