JapanWikipedia: Japan | Official Government Website: www.kantei.go.jp/foreign/index-e.html
Updated: Dec. 31, 2014
In Japan, most tea consumed is green tea, and in Japanese culture, tea is usually synonymous with green tea. Furthermore, most Japanese green teas (with the notable exceptions of kamairicha and mushi-guricha) are steamed, rather than pan-fired in the style of most green teas from China. In spite of largely being limited to steamed green teas, Japanese tea culture is astonishingly diverse; many innovative styles of green tea originated in Japan, and most of these styles are still produced primarily in Japan.
The basic Japanese green tea is called bancha. Less common, but more well-known in the west, is sencha. While some Japanese green teas resemble varieties of green tea produced in other countries, such as China, many of them, such as genmaicha or brown-rice tea or hojicha are unique and unlike any other teas.
Three of the four major islands of Japan, Honshū, Shikoku, and Kyūshū, grow tea; the northern parts of Honshū, and the major island, Hokkaidō, are located too far north and are too cold to produce tea commercially. Small amounts of tea are also produced in some of the smaller outlying islands of Japan, which extend quite far to the south. According to ITO EN, a major Japanese tea company, the three largest tea-producing prefectures are, in order, Shizuoka, Kagoshima, and Mie.
1. Sanne van der Wal, Sustainability Issues in the Tea Sector (PDF), Stichting Onderzoek Multinationale Ondernemingen, Amsterdam, June 2008.
2. Tea-Growing Regions | ITO EN LTD., Retrieved Feb, 26, 2010, now available only on archive.org.
Tea-Producing Regions of Japan
Styles of Tea Produced in Japan
This is a selection, not an exhaustive listing, of the styles of tea most commonly produced in Japan.
Best Japanese Teas
The notion of the "best" Japanese teas is subjective, because different people have different tastes. We present the most often-rated and highest-rated teas produced in Japan, and allow you to draw your own conclusions.