Japanese Tea Report – June 2024

In some places summer harvest is underway, in some it has already finished. But in Akita – one of the most northern tea regions of Japan, the first harvest of the year only started on the 5th of June. 

With fresh tea being available all around Japan, many places are paying more attention to export. Shiga prefecture has recently established a Prefectural Council for exporting agricultural products including local tea. The Fukuoka Governor speaking at the Prefectural Assembly said that he plans to increase organic cultivation to expand Yame tea export. Fukuoka producers, who won the Prefectural Tea Competition, have also visited the governor asking for support to expand sales channels. In Kanagawa Prefecture, a robot was donated to Sagamihara City Hall by the Memo Technos company. It may be the first City Hall in the country to use a robot to help with daily tasks like delivering documents to different offices or serving tea to visitors.

In the bottled tea market recently there have been some changes as well. Feeling the sense of crisis due to the rise of lower-price private label bottled teas, in the last few months major beverage manufacturers have revamped the looks of their bottled tea products. Nonetheless ItoEn has recently announced record profits largely because of increase in overseas sales especially after signing the baseball star Shohei Ohtani.

In Fukuoka, a Yame traditional experience tour was held for ambassadors from 11 countries including Spain, India, Armenia, Peru, Rwanda and more. The tour was organized to convey the charm of the region and included a visit to Yame Tea Museum, tea factories and scenic tea fields. In Kyoto a tea festival called Yoshidayama Daichakai was held at the beginning of June. Around 40 tea producers and sellers were present to introduce their tea. In Nara a bookstore has been introducing six tea farmers from the prefecture to raise awareness about the local tea. A special talk event with the tea farmers was also held on 28th June, and their tea was available for purchase. 

As the tea season continues, many places hold tea picking events, especially for kids. In Nara, 18 elementary school students participated in a tea picking and tasting event on 4th June. In Fukuoka a tea class was also held for elementary school students to introduce them to various kinds of Japanese tea, that they no longer have a habit of drinking at home. In Saga, a pro wrestler, who has been helping to promote Karatsu City, has recorded a video of performing on a tea farm in a tea girl’s costume together with 40 elementary school students.

In Kochi a tea culture event was held for foreigners residing in the prefecture. 20 people who joined it could learn about the history of the prefecture and participate in a tea ceremony. As part of a community contribution project, this month Seibu Railway organized a tea picking and spider lily planting event. It was part of the effort to revitalize the region that has been experiencing depopulation.


The article is based on Japanese media articles:


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