Japanese Tea Festival in Shizuoka Prefecture
The World Tea Festival held in Japan every three years has begun this month and has attracted tea aficionados and different types of tea from all over the world. From English to Russian and even Turkish tea, the beverage is celebrated in all its forms at the festival.
For those that consider themselves experts in the field of tea, there are taste sessions where visitors can taste a range of teas grown in Shizuoka. Some teas are sweet while others are spicy and there is even one brand of tea that is worth 300,000 yen per kilogram (approximately $3000 USD)! The expensive brand of tea is blended by the Kakegawa Jonan Tea Industry Union and harvesting the buds for brewing takes 50 people an entire day to harvest 4 kilograms of it.
Sado, or Japanese Tea Ceremony, was also present at the festival. For those that don’t know, Sado is a cultural activity in Japan that involves ceremonial preparation and presentation of matcha, or fine powdered green tea. It’s a complicated process that I’m not entirely sure of myself but it involves much of Zen Buddhist teachings about balance. For example, there is an assortment of color sugar cakes to help balance out the bitterness of the matcha.
The popularity of the World Tea Festival in Japan is no surprise as tea is the part of the lives of your typical Japanese family. The green tea that many people enjoyed have been grown in Shizuoka for nearly 800 years, support 800 companies and their 15,000 farmers and provide over 100,000 jobs in the tea industry which is worth 44 billion yen ($427,267,280 USD). They actually produce 40% of all the tea that Japan’s 128 million people drink.