6 Destinations for Green Tea Lovers –
For lovers of green tea Shizuoka is the Ultimate Travel Destination
Shizuoka Green Tea
Shizuoka is perhaps most famous around the World as a leader in the production of Japanese Green Tea.
40% of all of Japan’s Green Tea is grown in Shizuoka so it is a reputation that is warranted and anywhere you go in the Prefecture you will see large and small plantations with row upon row of green tea hedges.
If you enjoy this iconic Japanese drink there are a number of different experiences waiting for you all through Shizuoka.
Lets travel down from Tokyo and Explore some of Shizuoka’s best Green Tea Destinations –
KURAYA NARUSAWA – IZU NO KUNI
Although Izu is not a big green tea producer there are a few smaller producers that offer visitors Shizuoka green tea experiences.
At Kuraya Narusawa (a 5 min taxi ride from Izu Nagaoka Station) you can dress in a traditional outfit and enjoy a tea picking experience in their onsite tea plantation – it is a small field but on a clear day offers a great view of the majestic Mt Fuji.
After tea picking enjoy a Japanese BBQ lunch and try some of the craft beer brewed on site or visit the World Heritage Nirayama Reverbatory Furnace – an iron smelting facility used to make canons still standing after more than 150 years.
The town of Izu Nagaoka also boasts 1 of only 2 Geisha schools in Japan (the other is in Kyoto) and the Panorama Park Ropeway which offers spectacular views of Mt Fuji.
SHIN FUJI STATION
OBUCHI SASABA – FUJI CITY
When you see travel books, magazines or articles about traveling in Japan the images invariably include shots of Mt Fuji.
The most iconic of these shots normally include either Mt Fuji with the Bullet Train in the foreground, Mt Fuji with Chureito Pagoda (and possibly cherry blossoms) in the foreground or Mt Fuji with lines of neatly trimmed rows of green tea bushes in the foreground.
If you are wanting to get a memorable photo from your visit to Japan the best time to visit these plantations is mid-April through May.
The year’s first tea leaves are ready to be picked, the greens are vibrant, there is still snow on the peak of Mt Fuji and the Spring air is clear, crisp and relatively cloud free.
Both tea plantations are a 20 minute taxi ride from Shin Fuji Station.
MORIUCHI TEA FARM – SHIZUOKA CITY
One of the most striking green tea fields in Shizuoka is located about 20 mins by taxi from Shizuoka Bullet Train Station and Shizuoka City.
Located on a steep area of land that has been cultivating green tea since the Edo Period the Moriuchi Tea Plantation welcomes visitors to tour the plantation and experience all aspects of green tea production and preparation (picking, steaming and hand-rolling).
Relax in their 150 year old private home and learn more about why green tea is such an important part of Japanese life and learn more about the complexities of this drink.
MAKINOHARA PLAINS – MAKINOHARA & SHIMADA CITY
The “Makinohara Plains” or “Makinohara Uplands” are a stretch of green tea plantations that cover about 5,000 hectares (12,355 acres) of central Shizuoka Prefecture and are said to make up 10% of all green tea fields in Japan.
The Makinohara Plains start just South of Shimada Station which is a 18 minute train ride from Kakegawa Bullet Train Station or 27 minutes from Shizuoka Station on the JR Tokaido Line.
The tea plantations wind their way down from there circumnavigating the Mt. Fuji Shizuoka International Airport and end up on the Pacific Ocean Coast in Makinohara – a distance of over 20kms.
As most of the area is flat it makes for some great cycling experiences for cyclists of all levels and fitness levels – whether just spending a day cycling through the fields down to the coast and back or as a starting point to explore more of the coastline down to Hamamatsu and Lake Hamanako.
With surrounding areas such as Makinohara, Shimada and Kawane, Kakegawa could be referred to as the Green Tea Capital of Shizuoka and in turn, arguably, the Green Tea Capital of the World.
For visitors that are interested in Japanese Green Tea but don’t have the time to visit many places in Shizuoka, or are nervous traveling off the beaten track, then Kakegawa City is highly recommended.
Not only is Kakegawa Station conveniently located on the Tokaido Bullet Train Line but there are a number of green tea experiences within walking distance of the station so you don’t have to worry about connecting trains or taxi rides – LINK.
SHIZUOKA OR KAKEGAWA STATION
KAWANE VALLEY – KAWANEHON TOWN
As you move inland from the Shizuoka coast to places like Kawane Honcho you very quickly enter into a land of dramatic natural beauty, made up of rugged peaks, deep valleys with clear, natural rivers flowing out to the coast.
Even in this environment, locals diligently tend to green tea plantations that grow a hardy variation of green tea that differs from what is grown on the bigger plantations on the lower Makinohara plain.