Here’s Saki from Local Travel Partners.
After posting about Shizuoka Oden, I would like to continue introducing you to some other Shizuoka’s local speciality !
I have always been a Japanese tea lover, and it is one of the many reasons I have come to Shizuoka for my stay in Japan. I could learn more about green tea and also have been able to visit a few places that specialize in them.
I will present you some and also share with you how deeply green tea is part of Shizuokan lives !
SHIZUOKA’s GREEN TEA
It is said that in 1244, Shoichi Kokushi brought tea seeds home from Song and planted them in Ashikubo, a suburb of Shizuoka City.
During the Meiji Restoration, the Makinohara Plateau was cleared by the Tokugawa feudal clan and became the largest tea production area in Japan. The production volume was less than 14% of the country in 1883, but it is now a large production area that produces about 40% of the tea in Japan.
Mountainous areas such as Kawane, Tenryu, and Hon-yama are famous for producing high-quality tea with favorable weather and geographic conditions. Around Makinohara, a method of producing a deep-steamed sencha with less bitterness has been developed with the aim of making tea with a strong taste.
They say the “tea love” of Shizuoka citizen is deeper than the Suruga Bay !
Some tea fatcs to prove it :
⋅ People from Shizuoka do not buy tea and mandarin oranges, because they can get them from relatives and neighbors.
⋅ In summer, they usually drink sweet tea with sugar : “Usu-cha tou“. It is rare i Japan but you can find them in every supermarket in Shizuoka.
⋅ At school, students practice the “tea gargle” : as catechin will help fight the flu. For the same reason, the contents of their tambler will be green tea.
⋅ In Izakaya, “Shizuoka split” is the standard , and not “green tea split” like the rest of the country.
MORIUCHI TEA FARM
The Moriuchi Tea Farm is one out of many tea farm in Shizuoka but also one I had the chance to visit. It is an eco-farm located in the mountain of Shizuoka city in the remote Hon-yama area. You can reach there by going along the Abekawa river.
While there are many large tea factories that mix sprout picked by multiple tea farmers, the Moriuchi Tea Farm is a small tea farmer managed by a couple : they pick sprouts and make tea at their own factory. They take good care of the plantation as their own child. When I met and talked with them I could sense how they respect nature and sincerely make tea without making any compromise.
Tea grown on mountain slopes with river fog has softer leaves and brighter greens than tea grown in plains. The shape of the tea leaves stretches neatly and gives an elegant taste. In fact, it has a very gentle mouthfeel, full of transparent fresh fragrance.
In collaboration with our Local Travel Partners agency, Mister and Madam Moriuchi can guide you through their plantation, followed by a tea tasting experience with explanation on how each kind of teas is prepared.
A unique experience where you can learn the depth of Japanese tea directly from tea farmers ! Have a look on our blog post about the bike tour we propose to the Moriuchi tea farm 🙂
Near the Shizuoka JR station in the Aoba road, one place known by all the Shizuokan is Nanaya.
Famous for its matcha gelato, they propose them with seven levels of density. The seventh one has been well received as the strongest -unprecedented- matcha gelato in the world !
Nanaya also sell handmade sweets using Shizuoka Matcha like fresh cream manju, chocolate cookies, roll cake and more but their matcha gelato has a full-fledged taste and reputation as never before.
At the store, you can also enjoy seasonal products such as Genmaicha gelato and Japanese black tea (domestic black tea) gelato and other original gelato using local materials.
Lovers of matcha sweets can not miss those delicacies ! As you can see, I am a huge fan myself 🙂
Oyaizu Seicha is a green tea manufacturing company of Shizuoka prefecture. The green tea leaves used comes from the Hon-yama and Kawane area of Shizuoka. As a manufacturing company, they process the leaves gathered by their partnered tea farms in those area, bag them in their factory, then sell them. Most of the tea they proposed are deep steamed and ensure it is of high quality.
Here is their main factory and related shop. I had the opportunity to visit it and participate to a tea tasting there, on the occasion of a bike tour we organised in collaboration with Sarry’s club in Mochimune.
The person in charge explained us the tea manufacturing process. From the state of leaves to the state of the green tea we know, there is 3 steps : musu “steam”, momu “roll”, and kansou “dry”. After repeating those 3 steps, we get the aracha – the tea at the further left on the picture above. From the aracha it is processed once again to give all the different kind of japanese tea we know : sencha, kukicha, mecha, konacha, hosoko, and houjicha.
After comparing and touching the different kind of teas, we were given a tour inside the factory. We also got inside the -25°C storage fridge, where wet towel froze instantly !
Back to a warmest place, we had a tea tasting experience of different sencha, with one quizz : which is the most expensive one ? Another interesting way to find the green tea that suits you best !
Tea is not limited to drink or sweets. This tea house, owned by Oyaizu Seicha above, offer various meal using tea as well.
When you arrive at the table, green tea is served instead of water. The menu includes a set of carefully selected high-grade tea, matcha and sweets like the popular fresh cream Daifuku “Marifuku”.
Gashoan propose various ways to taste tea, such as “homemade pasta” kneaded with matcha or matcha omelet.
The shop has a wide range of local tea, tea utensils, tea sweets, and offers a wide variety of tea appeal.
I can’t talk about tea without sharing with you how to pour green tea !
Hot green tea for 2
- Put sencha tea leaves in the teapot. A spoonful [approximately 4 g] is a guide for 2 people.
- Pour a 100cc of hot water in two tea cups. It is done in order to cool the water and warm the cup.
- Leave it for a while then pour it into the teapot when the water has cooled to about 70 ° C.
- Wait for about 40 to 60 seconds after putting the hot water into the teapot.
- Pour it into the cup again.
It is important to pour evenly little by little and squeeze to the last drop.
Cold green tea for 2
- Put the tea leaves in the teapot. Same amount as above.
- Put 2 to 3 ice cubes in the teapot.
- Pour cold water and wait 3 minutes while turning the teapot slowly.
- When time comes, pour the tea into the cup.
There are a lot of place and a lot of events to enjoy Japanese green tea in Shizuoka city.
When you arrive at the station and go down the stairs, a roasted tea fragrance will welcome you ! I hope you can experience it !
This was my last post here in Local Travel partners. Thank you very much for having read them, following them maybe ! I hope it made you want to visit Shizuoka 🙂 The people here are warm, they will definitely welcome you and introduce you to their region and specialties.
I have been in Japan since last May and thanks to Mr. Ishikaki I was given this opportunity to learn a lot more about this region and meet many peoples in Shizuoka, my mother land. Also, sharing it with you ! I can not express how grateful I am. It will be my life-long treasure. I am returning to France but I bring with me all those wonderful memories.