Japan Culture, Travel  |  6.7.2019  |  By C. Thompson

Shizuoka’s Secret: The Best Green Tea in Japan

The traditions surrounding the growth and production of Japanese green tea go back hundreds of years, but the green tea from Shizuoka—an area responsible for about 40% of all of Japan’s green tea production and our main source of vendors—is especially exquisite.

What could Shizuoka’s secret be to producing such flavorful and aromatic tea?  It involves the infamous Mt. Fuji, and all of the nutrients that can be found in the soil and water that surrounds it, as well as the dedication of Shizuoka’s tea farmers.  Committed as we are here at Senbird to providing only the highest quality green tea, many of our teas come from Shizuoka for exactly this reason.

organic tea field and view of mt. fuji and tea fields plantation in shizuoka japan

Mt. Fuji acts as a natural source of minerals for the soil

As an active, but dormant, volcano, the soil surrounding the base of Mt. Fuji and the area around it is rich with minerals that are key in successfully growing healthy, nutrient-rich green tea.  The reason for the abundance of minerals stems from the fact that the volcanic soil (Mt. Fuji last erupted in December of 1707) is fresher than the normal topsoil found in other parts of the country.  On top of that, rivers filled with fresh, clear water surround the numerous tea farms throughout Shizuoka, the constant flow providing the area with mineral-rich sediments and a clean source of hydration for the green tea shrubs.

hills of tea fields overlooking tea farms in Shizuoka, Japan organic sencha senbird

Shizuoka’s climate and topography are perfect for growing green tea

Rich soil and clean water are not the only contributing factors, however.  Shizuoka also has a fairly diverse climate and topography.  Tea farms have a limited window in which they can grow and harvest their green tea—usually from mid-April through October—but there are smaller segments of harvest for each tea within that time frame.  For instance, our Gyokuro and Sencha green tea can only be harvested during shincha, the first harvest of the year.  During this time, the weather is mild, some might even say cool, providing the perfect environment for these shade grown teas to be harvested.

Japanese tea farmers in tea fields of Shizuoka, Japan senbird organic Japanese Green Tea

Japanese tea farmers in tea fields of Shizuoka, Japan

It’s not just where the green tea is grown, but how it is grown

In addition to the location in which the tea is grown, the way they are grown and harvested has a role to play as well.  In Shizuoka, the family-owned tea farms handpick their green tea crops, ensuring that only the best tea leaves are sent to be processed.  And, depending on how those leaves are processed, you will be able to taste Fukamushicha, Shizuoka’s signature style of deep steamed green tea—like in the Hikari Fukamushi Sencha green tea.  But there are also some green teas that are roasted in addition to the steaming processing, like Hōjicha.  This additional step makes the tea low in caffeine and gives it a distinct, toasty flavor.

Between the location and the care of dedicated farmers that grow and process green tea, it is easy to see why such tasty tea comes out of Shizuoka.  All green tea from Japan is delicious, but if you ever have the chance to try some from Shizuoka, you may find you have a new favorite tea waiting for you.

Sencha Hatsuzumi
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Sencha Hatsuzumi is a fukamushicha deep steamed green tea that is savory and full-bodied with exceptional natural sweetness.

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