Sep 11, 2018
I live in Kyushu, in Fukuoka Prefecture to be exact. It takes a couple hours by train to even get to Honshu island, but way down in Yamaguchi Prefecture. Even then it's still quite far away from Tokyo and Shizuoka Prefecture in the Chubu Region. Some people I know fly off to Tokyo all the time for business or pleasure, but it's been years since I've been, if I don't include transiting through Narita airport.
Back when I lived in the Kanto region, I was able to take a trip to the Tokai region. First it was on the way to the Kansai region via Nagoya by train. I went through Izu, past Mt. Fuji, and through Shizuoka, but without knowing that it was an area famous for tea. I don't remember seeing any tea fields at that time - probably the views of the ocean and Mt. Fuji were more distracting.
I especially liked the area called Atami, where I stopped for a while to change trains. I had time to check out the omiyage from the area and don't remember seeing any tea at that time. I guess the city is more famous for onsen and the foods steamed by onsen.
By comparison, the area where I live is also known for tea and onsen. This isn't super obvious to visitors, so I get it, that tea being famous in Shizuoka isn't obvious to anyone passing through. I think those living in the Kanto region have no idea, but Fukuoka Prefecture has a famous tea region called Yame, which is just south of the city where I live (Kurume).
When I go to supermarkets, the tea section is almost exclusively teas from Hoshino or Yame in Fukuoka Prefecture. There is a smaller representation of tea from Ureshino in Saga Prefecture nearby.
Until recently, I had never even seen Shizuoka tea sold in supermarkets here. I was only looking in the stores I usually go to and close to home. The other day I randomly stopped by and looked around in a supermarket that I don't usually shop in. The tea section was, as expected, Hoshino, Yame, and Ureshino Teas, represented in over 75% of what was being sold. In the photo above, it's all local tea, but to the right there was some more generic Japanese tea not specific to any region.
I noticed something surprising though – one lonely variety of Shizuoka tea had made it's way to Kyushu (photo above). It must be popular if it's even sold in some supermarkets this far away.
This post is supported by Shizuoka Green Tea Guide, one of City-Cost's Supporters helping City-Cost bloggers to enjoy life in Japan and engage in new experiences.