The other day I came across a rather boring interesting book: “Collection of statistics of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries of Japan for 2007”. Among other things, there were data on my beloved Japanese tea. The information is not so old, and most importantly, it allows you to judge in which regions of Japan Japanese tea is grown and produced.
The tea bush as a plant grows throughout Japan. As a drink, it is produced in all prefectures except Hokkaido and Osaka. In the very north of Honshu Island, in Aomori Prefecture, you can find individual tea plantations, but their area is extremely small and production is limited to purely personal consumption. The northernmost point of Japan, where tea is cultivated on an industrial scale, is the village of Murakami in Niigata Prefecture, famous for its “Murakami” tea m urakami-cha .
Leading prefectures-producers of Japanese tea.
In 2007, 48,200 hectares of land were used for tea cultivation. Below is a rating of the main prefectures that produce Japanese tea. 1. Shizuoka Prefecture is the leader, where 41.3% of all Japanese tea is grown. 2. Kagoshima accounts for 17.7%. Judging by recent trends, tea production in this southern prefecture continues to expand rapidly. 3. Mie Prefecture: 6.8 %. Even among the Japanese, few people know that this prefetura, with its local brand of ise-cha, is the third largest producer of Japanese tea. 4. Kumamoto: 3.4%. 5. Miyazaki: 3.4 %. 6. Fukuoka: 3.3%. 7. Kyoto: 3.2%. Tea from the Uji plantations (near Kyoto) is the oldest in Japan. This is perhaps the most famous tea both in the country and abroad. Again, not every tea expert knows that after Shizuoka, super-spun Uji tea takes only the seventh place in the list. 8. Saitama: 2,3. In this prefecture located to the north of Tokyo, the famous “Sayama” tea, sayama-cha, is grown in the Kanto region (Tokyo, Yokohama, etc .). At the very end of the production process, this type of Japanese tea is subjected to a strong heat treatment of hi-ire , which brings the moisture content to about 3% percent, significantly enhancing the aroma and making the taste of the tea more accentuated. Below I lay out a map of Japan, for general, so to speak, development. 🙂
Some regional features of Japanese tea.
In the Kansai region (Kyoto, Osaka, Kobe, etc.), no deep-steamed fukamushi sencha tea is produced at all and relatively little is consumed. Here it is traditionally customary to drink “ordinary sencha” (futsu sencha), that is, sencha of ordinary steaming. If the steaming time of ordinary sencha is from 20 seconds to one minute, then it takes from one to three minutes to steam fukamushi sencha. In Tokyo and on the island of Kyushu, fukamushi sencha, with its more pronounced taste, is becoming increasingly popular. Popular in Kansai, ordinary steamed sencha is transparent and has a greenish-yellow color, while fukamushi sencha is distinguished by its thick, dark green shade, just like in this photo. I note that the title photo shows a cup of ordinary sencha.
Popular throughout Japan for its distinctive aroma, low caffeine content, and affordable price, hojicha (a roasted tea that tastes very different from sencha) is little known in Kyushu. I must say that in Kyushu, in the production process, tea is fixed not by steaming, but by roasting in a kama-iri boiler . This method of fixing, which comes from China and stops the oxidative processes in tea leaves, primarily emphasizes the tea aroma, which is also characteristic of khodzich. In the town of Uresino (Saga Prefecture, Kyushu), tamarekucha (or guricha) is produced. There are two variants of tamarekucha: steamed ( mushi-guri ) and pot-fried ( kama-guri ). At first, this tea was fried exclusively in a cauldron in the Chinese manner. Only in the early 20s of the last century (the end of the Taisho era, 1912-1926) was the production of tamarekuch started by steaming. It is interesting to know that this technology was developed specifically for the export of tamarekuch to the Soviet Union.
Relatively recently , the Mie Prefecture began to grow the so-called kabusecha, the bushes of which, analagically to the technology of growing gyokuro, are covered with sunscreens. Unlike gyokuro, kabusecha is closed from direct sunlight for a shorter time, which makes this variety an average between elite gyokuro and ordinary sencha. Gyokuro is produced almost exclusively in Uji (Kyoto) and Yame (Fukuoka). The volume of gyokuro grown in Shizuoka Prefecture is relatively small. Uji is also world-famous for its elite matcha tea, which is traditionally used in the Japanese tea ceremony.