In 2018, Miyazaki produced 3,800 tons of tea. It is the prefecture that boasts the 4th largest production in Japan, accounting for about 5% of the total production this year.
Most of the green tea produced in Miyazaki is Sencha(steeped green tea), which accounts for about 80% of the total production.
Although their tea production volume is small, Miyazaki is famous for Kamairicha. In addition, in so far as the production volume of Kamairicha is the largest in Japan.
Cultivated varieties include ‘Yabukita’, ‘Saemidori’, ‘Yumekaori’, ‘Sakimidori’ and ‘Harumoegi’.
History of tea production in Miyazaki Prefecture
It is said that people in Miyazaki have had Yamacha (native tea bush) which grows wild in mountainous areas since old days.
Records related to green tea have been kept since the 1600s. At that time, tea was used for tribute and property tax.
It was after Meiji period (1868-1912) that tea was made in Miyazaki in earnest.
The method of manufacturing Kamairicha, which was also used for Yamacha, and Sencha(steeped green tea), which came from Uji, had spread throughout Miyazaki.
The method of manufacturing Kamairicha was brought from Korea around 1600. It is said that in 1751, IKEDA Sadaki, a doctor of Miyakonojo Shimazu Domain, learned the method of manufacturing green tea from Uji and passed it on to Miyazaki.
From the end of Taisho period (1912-1926) to the beginning of Showa period (1926-1989), Miyazaki prefecture promoted tea industry, and the foundation of manufacturing tea was completed.
In the Showa 40s (1965 -1974), the area of tea gardens and production volume, which had decreased due to the War, recovered.
After that, the area of tea gardens tended to decrease until around 1998, but from around 1999, both of the area of tea gardens and production volume of tea gradually increased. In recent years, Miyazaki has been striving to be a ‘Japan's best tea producing area’ and growing high quality tea, with good results in the National Tea Fair.
Tea-growing areas in Miyazaki Prefecture
Miyazaki Prefecture is suitable for growing green tea because of its mild climate, fertile land and rainfall.
Green tea is produced in wide areas ranging from coastal areas to mountainous areas at an altitude of 700 meters.
Takachiho tea is made in the mountainous area around Takachiho Town in the northwestern part of Miyazaki Prefecture.
Most of Takachiho tea is Kamairicha. The production volume of Kamairicha, which is made by roasting freshly harvested tea leaves in the iron pot instead of steaming, is less than 1% of the total production volume in Japan. However, most of Kamairicha is made in Kyushu, and about 60% of it is produced in Miyazaki.
Takachiho tea has a clear gold color, and you can enjoy its unique fragrant aroma called Kamaka and refreshing taste.