Matcha green tea Harvest in Japan

The 1st of May, 2012 was "Hachiju-Hachiya (八十八夜)". "Hachiju-Hachiya" literally means "88th nights," and refers to the eighty-eighth day after "risshun(立春)", the first day of spring on the traditional Japanese calendar. It is the highest season for picking green tea leaves in Japan. 

Aoi Seicha, the business partner of The Matcha House Europe in Japan also enjoyed picking of the leaves in its fields in Nishio, near the center of the Japanese main island of Honshu.

Nishio is one of the most important regions in production of “Tencha” – raw material which makes Matcha, the typical Japanese powdered green tea used both for the traditional tea ceremony and for cooking. Nishio produces most of the Matcha tea in Japan.

Along the Yahagi River there is a high hill called Inariyama, where Tencha is cultivated. The fields extend over more than 150 hectares and annually produce 350 tons of Tencha in Nishio. One reason that this is a privileged place for the manufacture of Matcha is that the composition of the red earth and sands for the area provides good water drainage. Another is that thanks to Yahagi river, the earth keeps the humidity level necessary for the proper growth of Tencha.

Aoi Seicha started the first harvest on the 1st of May as scheduled. In this season, all Nishio fields are covered by a huge black cover. It looks like a big black nori seaweed that extends to infinity. The professional harvesters called “摘み子 Tsumiko” or affectionately “Tsumiko San” continue collecting the leaves from sunrise to sunset, normally in silence and applying very rigorous in their work. The average amount of tea leaves that Tsumiko collects is 15kg per day, although a veteran Tsumiko can collect up to 20kg per day – this is equivalent to 3 times of full huge basket. The enormous effort of these people is key to Nishio can stay ahead of the production of Matcha in Japan.

Let us introduce a Japanese famous song “Tea harvest”

♪ ♪茶摘み ♪ ♪
あかねだすきに菅 (すげ)の笠

♪ ♪Tea harvest ♪ ♪
We are in the 88th night
from the first day of spring
Young leaves cover the mountains and fields
Look that mountain
They are doing Chatsumi, the harvest of green tea
Girls with red tasukis tied to their shoulders
and baskets in hand


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