The Shizuoka region of Japan has been famous for growing tea for eight centuries. More recently, in March 2011, it became famous for bearing the brunt of the earthquake and tsunami that devastated the region. To make matters worse, problems arose at the nuclear plants in the area, raising serious health concerns.
We admire people who make the best of things in the worst of times. The Shizuoka tea growing region could have been finished, given the devastation from the natural disaster compounded by the failures of the nuclear reactors.
The tea growers of Shizuoka did not quit. Government inspections have proven that tea for export is safe to drink. In addition, the people of Shizuoka have rallied to host the 2013 World Tea Festival, in the hope of raising awareness of the benefits of tea as well as encouraging tea tourism.
Check out the tea festival here:
I found the lady's comments about the health benefits of green tea to be very interesting. Apparently, the region has shifted from producing primarily black tea to green tea. The only difference is that green tea tends to be harvested earlier, meaning the leaves are less oxidized and tend to have less caffeine. Many people believe green tea is better for you, so the producers shifted with the market.
The importance of tea to the region cannot be overstated. 100,000 workers rely on tea for their livelihoods, contributing about $444m per year to the Japanese economy. In addition, 40% of the green tea consumed in Japan comes from Shizuoka. Believe me, that's a lot of tea.
The Tea Trekker describes his visit to this important tea growing region. Something I found fascinating is that in 1985 the locals planted cypress trees to spell out the word "tea" (in Japanese of course). With Mount Fuji looming in the background, it's hard to imagine a better place for a tea adventure.
The May world tea festival is over, but will return in the fall. If you're in Japan November 7-10, check it out.
If you attended the festival, we'd love to hear about what you saw. Feel free to leave a comment or send us an email at email@example.com.
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