Tea traveling in Southern Japan, green tea fields are everywhere; on the sides of mountains, in valleys, and driving along the roads. It’s amazing to see the large tea fields that cover vast areas throughout the region. The fields are magnificently green. Walking in a tea field creates a refreshing feeling of calm, peace and serenity; the very same effect as drinking the tea physically.
The southern tip of Japan in Kagoshima is the 2nd largest area in Japan for growing organic tea.
The land is fertile everywhere thanks to Mt. Sakurajima (means Cherry Island). The volcano has spewed ash and minerals throughout the region for hundreds of years. The volcano is now connected to Okuma Peninsula after eruptions in the early 1900’s.
Mt. Sakurajima is literally just across the bay and a part of the city of Kagoshima. Houses are built at the very bottom of the volcano. Smoking, steaming and spewing ash frequently darkens the sky. This is part of the daily life in Kagoshima. The volcano is rated a Level 3 alert, meaning it is active and should not be approached.
Tea is easy to find traveling in Japan. Shops will often roast the tea right in front of their store. You can buy it in bags or have them brew some tea for you. The smell is heavenly with the fresh aroma of tea permeating the street. On the table are large bags of tea ready to go. Drinking tea is such a part of daily life throughout Japan, that society in general drinks large quantities of tea. This has steadily increased over an 800 year period since tea’s introduction to Japan.
Drinking matcha on the road is easy, just add a half teaspoon of matcha to your water bottle and shake vigorously It’s a great pick me up to keep the day moving along and to ward off the weariness that can come with jet lag and moving from place to place.
Steam vents abound in the surrounding hills of Kagoshima in this volcanic area. Hot springs are common and you can see why the rich nutrients of earth from the steam cover the lands where the tea is grown.
A Taste for Tea
Wiki Creative Commons- Tea Plantation in Nansatsu Plateau, Kagoshima
Steam Vents- Explore Japan