Fukuoka is the fifth largest green tea producing region.
The production was 1,890 tons in 2019, which was approximately 2.2% of the total domestic green tea production.
It cultivates green tea leaves such as“Yabukita”, “Kanayamidori”, “Okumidori”, “Saemidori”and “Yamakai”
It produces a variety of green tea like Sencha, Kabusecha, Gyokuro, Bancha, and Kamairicha. Particularly, Fukuoka is known as an excellent high-end tea producing area whose production is the most in Japan.
The history of tea production in Fukuoka Prefecture
The green tea cultivation in Fukuoka originated in Yame located in the southwest area.
Reigenji in Chikugonokuni Kozumagun Kanokomura (currently Kurokimachi Kasahara) and planted tea leaves brought from China.
In around the same period of time, it is said that he taught the village headman Matuso Taro Goro Hisaie how to cultivate and produce Kamairicha. This is the origin of Green tea cultivation/production in Fukuoka.
In the middle of the Edo period, a small amount of Kamairicha got distributed to Kyoto and Osaka from Yame. However, the majority was distributed in Kurume district as the production of Kamairicha was very small at that time.
The current cultivar of Gyokuro which is Yamecha’s greatest specialty was first produced in the Meiji era. A monk Takita Oken of the temple Kiyomizudera in Yamato gun (currently Miyama) built a training place to teach methods of cultivating and producing Gyokuro, which resulted in the spread of Gyokuro production.
On the other hand, the export share of Kamairicha dropped sharply due to the prohibition against the poor quality tea export issued by the US. Later, the produce of Kamairicha gradually reduced in the domestic market, while steamed green tea became more popular than Kamairicha.
Later, as the manufacture of green tea developed in the Taisho era, many local green tea brands got merged into the brand “Yamecha” that is led to the present Yamecha
Tea-growing areas in Fukuoka Prefecture
90% of green tea cultivation areas of Fukuoka are located in Yame district, and all the green tea leaves cultivated in the areas are called “Yamecha”
Yamecha is tea leaves produced in the southwest areas in Fukuoka such as Yame, Chikugo and Hirokawa located next to Yame.
Green tea (Sencha) is mainly produced and Gyokuro is also produced in mountain areas.
Yame is one of the largest producers of Gyokuro in Japan, and Yame Gyokuro is highly rated as it has been prize-winning for 19 years in a row at the domestic competitive tea exhibition. Yame Gyokuro is one of the most valuable teas in japan as well as its production and quality.