From beautiful hills of Yame


〜日本語は英語の後です〜

Let us talk a little about our favourite tea-producing region of Japan - Yame city of Fukuoka Prefecture - a mountainous land in south-west Japan. Northern part of Fukuoka, especially Hakata port, has been a gateway to China in medieval Japan, and no wonder that first seeds of tea trees were brought back from China by Buddhist monks to this particular region, with first record of tea being planted in Seburi-yama mountain near Hakata by zen-monk Eisai in 12th century,

Yame, being situated in the southernmost part of Fukuoka, off the beaten track, didn't get it's tea history started until 1430, when another zen monk Eirin founded REIGAN-JI temple after coming back from China. Eirin, as did Eisai in 1100s, brought with him seeds of tea trees and distributed them among local farmers. At Reigan-ji, one can still find a tea tree planted originally by Eiirin.


Yame tea started to attain popularity in majour cities of Japan in 16th century. Later, in 19th century, production of red tea began to satisfy growing demand in the US and Europe. But with the introduction of tea tree to India and Sri Lanka, demand for Japanese red quickly vanished, and while it was still sold to alternative makets like Russia and Middle East, production of red tea decreased.




Nowadays, Yame contributes to only 3% of Japan's total tea production. But when it comes to GYOKURO - a premium shaded green tea, Yame accounts to more than 50% of all real Gyokuro produced (we will discuss the matter of real/fake gyokuros later).




Our YAME GREEN & YAME RED are sourced from gardens of family-run Harashima Estate in Yabe village - the most distant part of Yame city. Tea gardens are situated at the altitude of 500-600 meters above sea level (which is almost as high as You can get in Japan). Trees are covered in snow during winters; abundant mists and crystal clear spring water ensure great leaf quality, while moderate (for south-west Japan) climate enables organic farming (now under converison officially).


What we love about Harashima-san, the owner of estate in 4th generation, is his true love for tea and spirit of constant learning.


Each year he travels to top producing regions arounf the world to develop his skills, and it shows up in quality, for sure!


Stay tuned to our FB page and web site for upcoming collaborations between FAR EAST GROCERY DEPT. and Harashima estate!





 今回は極東雑貨が愛して止まない銘茶の里、福岡県八女市に関してのお話です。古代よりアジアへの玄関口だった博多港を有する福岡。茶祖・栄西禅師が日本で初めてお茶の樹の種が植えられたのは福岡北部の脊振山と伝えられています。

 福岡でも最南端、熊本と大分の県境に近い八女の地にお茶の栽培が伝わったのは1430年。同じく中国帰りの禅僧・栄林が今の八女市黒木町に霊巌寺を起し、地元の農家に種を配ったのが起源とされています。霊巌寺には現在も栄林禅師が植えたとされる茶樹が残されています。


16世紀頃から生産量が上がってきた八女のお茶。明治にはアメリカ・イギリスでの急激な紅茶需要に対応するために紅茶の生産も始まります。しかし、インド・スリランカでのお茶の栽培が始まると日本の紅茶は要らなくなり、ロシアや中東など新規市場を開拓しつつも紅茶作りは徐々に少なくなります。

現在の八女茶は全国の生産量の約3%を占め、量的には大きな産地ではございませんが、玉露、特にその最高峰たる伝統本玉露においては全国トップの生産量を誇ります(玉露の分類や製法に関しては又の機会に書くとしましょう)。


極東雑貨の YAME GREENYAME RED は八女市の中でも奥地とされる矢部村の家族経営の原島農園で生産されております。標高500-600mの茶園は冬は雪に覆われ、春から降りる霧、昼夜の寒暖の差と山々から滴る岩清水はお茶の味を素晴らしくします。日本ではかなり高い部類の標高のおかげで有機栽培も比較的実施しやすいという利点もあります(現在認証取得中)。


四代目の原島さんの素晴らしいところは、お茶への限りない愛情と絶え間ない向上心です。毎年、世界のトップクラスの産地に出向き、製茶技術を養い、それが確実に品質に反映されています。


今後も極東雑貨は原島さんとオリジナル商品の開発などでコラボしていきますので、公式FBページ並びに本WEBサイトにご注目ください!





#YAMEGREEN #YAMERED #TEAREGIONS #JAPAN #日本茶 #極東雑貨

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