Where the best of the best Japanese tea is decided

A Guide to The National Tea Competition of Japan

How about if you want to know which is the best Japanese Tea out there? Well, maybe one way to do it is checking out the results of the National Tea Competition of Japan!

In this article, we will go through a quick overview of the competition. We'll also introduce come of the recent results of the competition as well.

Perhaps you've come across a tea that mentions that their producers have one an award in the "Zenkoku Cha Hinpyoukai" or the National Tea Competition.

Wondering what that implies to that tea? Firstly, let's go into what this competition is about.

What Is the National Tea Competition of Japan?

The National Tea Competition of Japan is the most prestigious Japanese tea competition. It evaluates the top quality Japanese tea each year from all over the country, and gives out awards to the best.

The competition is supported by the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry and is a means of continuously improving the quality of Japanese green tea in Japan, so it a good neutral reference which you can use.

The awards in the National Tea Competition is an extremely prestigious and insanely competitive award. The award winning tea truly sits atop all the tea produced in Japan for that year.

Most of the time you won't actually have a chance to try the tea which actually won the award. It's difficult to find these products outside of Japan, and it's usually quite pricey too. (We do stock "Tenjyu" by Marukyu Koyamaen which is the actual tea that won the award for Matcha though!)

While the actual tea that won the competition may be difficult to obtain, it also means that the producers of that tea has premium skills in producing the tea. They don't win this award by accident.

This means that the manufacturing and storing processes of the award winners are truly top notch, and that you'll get good quality tea for lower tier products as well.

So yes, if the producer has won an award in the "National Tea Competition" - then it's a good indicator of the quality of the tea.

The Competition Categories

The competition is held in the following 8 categories across 7 different tea types, and the awards are given to the winners of each category.

The Awards of the Competition

The following awards are given to the individual winners, with the 1st prize winner receiving the Minister of Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries Award.

Winners of this award will surely use this as promotion and publicize it heavily within their websites. It will even be publicized in the prefectures official homepages, as winning these awards are important for the prefecture itself as well. It helps establish their rank as a premium tea producing prefecture in Japan.

Sometimes there may be multiple winners of the same award within the category in the same year, but usually there won't be more than 2.

The Types of Individual Awards

  • Minister of Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries Award
  • Ministry of Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries Secretary Award
  • Japan Tea Central Public Interest Incorporated Association Chairman Award
  • Japanese Association of Tea Production Award
  • National Tea Commerce and Industry's Association Award

There is also an Area award which is given to the area which had the overall best quality of tea for that category. The first to third place winners are decided for the Area awards.

Arguably, for normal Japanese tea fans such like us, this area award is perhaps the most important award to look out for. It indicates the overall quality of the Area Brand of the tea.

It's not everyday you'll have the luck to taste the award winning individual's tea. However, you'll have plenty of chances to try the tea from the winning area.

Similar to the individual awards, there can be multiple winners for the same award.

If you want more information on the Area Awards, our Area Award Analyzer tool can help you check the past results. Take a look!

The Group Awards

  • Area Award (1st place)
  • Area Award (2nd place)
  • Area Award (3rd place)

Previous Results

New Update! 2020 Results are in!

The most recent results are here!

year Competition name Event City Comments


Kagoshima City, Kagoshima

Here are the results of the past competitions. Click inside to check out the full coverage!