February is typically one of the coldest months in Japan, and this year many areas of the country got plenty of snow as well. When it is cold outside, a warm cup of tea is especially inviting. The recent budget survey by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications has revealed that the residents of Shizuoka City were the highest spenders on green tea. In Shizuoka City the spending on green tea per household per year was 8,459 yen – far ahead of all the other cities in Japan, and the highest for the 5th year in a row. Kagoshima City ranked second with 5,611 yen per household per year spent on green tea. And that did not even include ready to drink teas.
Talking about the ready to drink teas, Itoen is set to raise prices for its canned drinks including green tea. This will be the first price raise in 25 years and in May the price per can will go up from 115 yen to 140 yen. Another company Kirin will also raise prices for many canned products including green tea. The price for tea is expected to go up from 87 yen to 103 yen. The increase in these prices is mainly due to the rise of the raw material cost.
Asahi on the other hand has announced that in April it will be releasing a new bottled tea brand called So. It is the first new product in 12 years and it will be made from slightly withered tea leaves to stand out from other bottled teas with its clean taste and stronger aroma.
In Uji a new cafe, called Baisa Nakamura, opened last year that serves freshly processed tea. Next to the cafe there is a small tea factory, where tea is freshly processed every morning and served later in the day. The cafe was created by Eiji Nakamura, who is part of the famous tea wholesaler Nakamura Tokichi family.
Among the new projects in Uji there is also the Uji Song Project. The project is led by the Uji Acoustic Meeting who asked the city residents last year to write down what they liked about Uji. There were many mentions of specialty products like tea and sweets. The group has been creating the lyrics through January and February, and the new song is expected to be revealed on 25th March.
Among the larger events Kyoto just had the plum blossom festival at Kitano Tenmangu on 25th February. Along with the viewing of the plum blossoms, the visitors could also participate in the special tea ceremony held by geisha and maiko. Before the pandemic about 3,000 people used to attend the event, but the capacity was reduced to 2,000 this year.
The article is based on the Japanese media articles:
- Asahi Soft Drinks to Use Rare Tea Leaves in First New Green Tea Brand in 12 Years, Asahi Shimbun 2023.02.07
- Tea is a living thing. Pour your heart out, Yomiuri Shimbun 2023.02.12
- Kirin to Raise Canned Beverage Prices, Kyoto Shimbun 2023.02.13
- Shizuoka City V5 in Green Tea Spending, Biggest Difference from 2nd Place, Yomiuri Shimbun 2023.02.15
- Plum Blossom Festival at Kitano-Tenmangu Shrine, Geisha and Maiko perform outdoor tea ceremony, Early and mid-blooming flowers are at their best. Asahi Shimbun 2023.02.25
- The song will be sung in March about Uji, Kyoto’s favorite place, Kyoto Shimbun 2023.02.26
- Itoen raises the price of canned beverage “Oi Ocha” from 115 yen to 140 yen, Nikkei Shimbun 2023.03.27