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The Complete Guide to Shizuoka-cha

One of the "3 Great Teas of Japan". The undeniable powerhouse area-brand of Japanese tea.

This article was last modified December 20th, 2021. by Yuki

Shizuoka-cha is responsible for one of the largest production of tea in Japan.

You'll find loads of Shizuoka-cha options even outside of Japan! Let's look into the details of Shizuoka-cha here.

Contents

  • Introduction to Shizuoka-cha
  • The Shizuoka prefecture and its craze for green tea
  • Other teas under the "Shizuoka-cha" unbrella
  • The taste of Shizuoka-cha

Introduction to Shizuoka-cha

Shizuoka-cha is the brand name for the green tea produced in the Shizuoka prefecture. Yes, the Shizuoka prefecture also has the beautiful Mt. Fuji. Therefore, some of the plantations have great views.

Tea plantations in Shizuoka prefecture

Fuji city of Shizuoka has beautiful tea plantations with a great view of Mount Fuji

Shizuoka-cha is responsible for 40% of the green tea production of the entire country. It boasts one of the highest tea productions and area of tea plantation of Japan. In fact it was the undisputable No.1 when it comes to tea production for a long time until just recently when Kagoshima prefecture overtook the position.

Along with the Ujicha and the Sayamacha, the Shizuoka-cha is categorized as one of the “Three great Teas of Japan”.

Not only is it because of the great production quantity, but it is also because of the taste and contributions it has made to the progression of tea in Japan.

Contributions of Shizuoka-cha

  • Created the "Yabukita" tea leaf breed. This is currently the most prominent breed of tea tree in Japan. The Shizuoka-cha is also the innovators of other up-and-coming tea cultivars, such as the Koshun.
  • Invented the "Fukamushi-Sencha".

The good thing about Shizuoka-cha is, that it is commonly found outside of Japan as well.

In Singapore, for example, you can drop by DonDonDonki or Isetan, and you may realize that the vast majority of the available Japanese tea is actually Shizuoka-cha. Many of the Sencha, Genmaicha, Houjicha among others will be originating from Shizuoka.


The Shizuoka Prefecture and its craze for green tea!

Shizuoka is large strip of land located right in between Tokyo and Nagoya.

If you're ever travelling in Japan on a bullet train between these two stations, that means you've been zooming through the prefecture for a good stretch of the time.

Tea is produced all over this Shizuoka prefecture.

We'll go over the "area-brands" within Shizuoka in more detail below, but according to Shizuoka Prefecture's website, there are 20 different areas within Shizuoka which produce tea!

They range from the mountainous areas to the flat fields, and it caters for a very diverse range of tastes and qualites.

It's not just the volume of which tea is produced which is significant. It's the fact that the people of Shizuoka love tea so much. It's like a part of their identity.

Here are a few fun facts.

  • Green tea is served for school lunch!
  • During winter, schools teach kids on gurgling using green tea!
  • There are many schools which serve green tea from tap!

No, this is not a common thing in Japan, only in Shizuoka! And it shows a glimpse into how deeply connected green tea is to the people of Shizuoka.


Japanese tea harvesting

Teas under the Shizuoka-cha umbrella

"Shizuoka-cha" has several areas under it.

It is so large that it actually has several sub-area brands under it's umbrella, each of these being extremely famous and successful as area brands as well.

Let me introduce some of them here.

*Disclaimer: There are so many that I can't cover all of them in this article!

Kakegawa-cha is famous as it is said to be the origin of the Fukamushi-sencha. Honyama-cha and Kawane-cha are commonly counted in as the "5 Great Teas of Japan" for their high-quality tea grown in the mountainous areas of Shizuoka. As each of these areas have different geographical characteristics, Shizuoka-cha has a variety of tastes.

Name Area Intro

Kakegawa City, Shizuoka

Kakegawa-cha is said to be one of the origins of Fukamushi-Sencha. Currently is one of the leaders of quality Fukamushi-Sencha. Known for a unique agricultural method as well.

Around Abe-river, Shizuoka

The origin of Shizuoka-cha, loved by Ieyasu Tokugawa, the first Shogun who conquered Japan.

Soil is blessed with minerals, and the river fog acts as a natural curtain to nurture the tea leaves of fantastic quality.

Kawane-honchou, Shizuoka

One of Japan's leaders in terms of high-quality Fukamushi-Sencha. Characterised by an unbelievable viscosity and smoothness, the Kakegawa-sencha is cherished as a gift as well.

Tenryu-cha

Around Tenryu river, Shizuoka

Grown in the mountainous areas of the Tenryu river, this area is also blessed with an ideal natural environment for tea. Known for its production of high-end tea, has received several accolades in Japan’s National Tea Competition.

Makinohara-cha

Makinohara-area, Shizuoka

Another area brand nationally known in Japan, produces high quality Fukamushi-sencha with sweetness and powerful taste.


The taste and quality of Shizuoka-cha

Shiuzoka prefecture has a warm climate and the long sunlight hours which is preferable for tea plantations. There is also a large temperature drop at night, especially in the mountainous areas, which contribute to high-quality tea such as high-grade Sencha and Gyokuro.

Let's look at some of the results of the National Tea Competition to get an understanding of Shizuoka-cha's quality. This is a good tool to measure the top-line quality of an area brand.

The National Tea Competition of Japan

The National Tea Competition of Japan is the most prestigious tea competition and event taking place annually in Japan. It awards the best individual tea, and also the best tea areas of the year. The first place winner is awarded the elusive Minister of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fishery award.

We've done an analysis on the past 8 competition results. First let's look at the Fukamushi-Sencha category.

In the Fukamushi-Sencha category

  • Shizuoka's area has dominated #1 - #3 for the Area Award for all 8 years. (8 to Kakegawa City, 8 to Makinohara City, 3 to Fukuroi City, 3 to Omaezaki City, and 2 to Fujieda City)
  • Shizuoka's manufacturers have won the individual #1 award (The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fishery Award) all 8 years. (4 to Kakegawa City, 2 to Fukuroi City, 1 to Omaezaki City, and 1 to Shimada City)

This is pure domination. Not only is the Fukamushi-sencha invented in Shizuoka, it is simply the best there as well.

But Fukamushi-Sencha is not the only category Shizuoka exceeds in.

In the Sencha 4kg category

The Sencha 4kg category is for hand plucking of the leaves (as opposed to machine plucking - which is the Sencha 10kg category)

  • Shizuoka had landed #1 for the Area Award for all 8 years. (4 to Hamamatsu City, 3 to Shizuoka City, and 1 to Kawane Houcho Town)
  • The individual #1 award (The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fishery Award) was awarded to Shizuoka in 7 of the 8 years.

Shizuoka tea's quality has one of the highest standards in Japan in terms of the tea quality for Sencha and Fukamushi-sencha.


Next time you're looking for tea, be on the lookout for Shizuoka-cha! Most likely, you'll find it in a Japanese supermarket, even if you're not in Japan.

Author Yuki

Yuki

Yuki is the Editor-in-Chief AND Community Manager at Tealife. He bleeds Japanese Tea and loves being a part of the Japanese Tea journey of others. Writes, does events, conducts tasting sessions, drinks, drinks and drinks tea! Easily accessible - hit him up on whatsapp (+65) 85882980.