Kagoshima is the second largest tea producing region in Japan.

Kagoshima Green Tea History

There are several stories about how green tea cultivation took root in Kagoshima. The most agreed upon is that a Buddhist priest from the Kyoto area traveled to the hamlet of Yoshimatsu approximately 700 years ago to establish a temple, and thereupon cultivated the first camellia sinensis plant.

Later during the Edo Era (1603-1867) the predominant Satsuma clan encouraged tea cultivation on farms for wider commercial purposes. This increased production greatly but the tea quality was poor and most of it was consumed regionally. In 1887 the first tea producers association was instituted in an effort to improve quality, but it was not until the early 1950’s that real improvement was achieved. This was when a large contingent of apprentice farmers relocated to the famed Makinohara region of Shizuoka to learn advanced tea growing and processing techniques. 

Due to the broad, flat terrain of Kagoshima Prefecture, long perfectly-aligned rows of tea can be planted and then harvested by mechanical harvesting machines developed exclusively for this purpose. These unique high-volume harvesters are highly efficient and effective a very precise and even pluck of each tea leaf. Presently the Yabukita cultivar represents 41% of total tea production in Kagoshima compared to a national proportion of 76%. 

Twenty eight percent of Kagoshima green tea comes from the Yutaka Midori cultivar followed by smaller amounts from the Sae Midori and Asatsuyu