Hello, everyone！My name is Kyoka, a second year student from Ryukoku university, and I am currently working as an intern at D:matcha. This is the first time I am writing a blog on D:matcha magazine.
For some context, I decided to intern with D:matcha, because I wanted to communicate with foreigners in English, and am now trying to write this blog in English.
Today, I’d like to talk about two topics：①the reasons why Wazuka is suitable for producing tea ②the fields that I recommend to people visiting Wazuka based on what I learned during my internship
Why production of tea in Wazuka has lasted more than 800 years
I participated in a tea picking tour conducted by D:matcha. It was the first time I had visited the tea fields. The view of the tea fields was absolutely gorgeous and made me feel relaxed. I highly recommend that people visit these tea fields, and experience its natural beauty. In addition to tea picking, there are many other experiences available, including a factory tour, first-hand matcha grinding, and more. For more information, please visit our website. You can also book tours online！
According to what I heard on my tour, the agricultural environment in Wazuka plays an important role, and has enable such high-quality production for over 800 years. This agricultural environment has two important, and differentiating features.
Tea fields I went with the tour
Thousands of years ago, Wazuka was entirely underwater. It is said that the water had been linked with Lake Biwa, which is the largest lake in Japan. As a result of being underwater for so long, Wazuka’s soil which are especially important for growing and producing tea has a lot of minerals.
Wazuka features rivers flowing into the central town and dense forests surrounding the city. As a result, fog flourishes and abounds the city, particularly during midday and night. This fog is the key contributor in tea leave production.
Tea trees absorb necessary nutrients from the soil, and store theanine inside their leaves. Theanine is an amino acid, and contains sweetness and delectable taste, which are known as Umami in Japanese. However, as the leaves are bathed in sunlight, teanine evolve into catechin, which tastes bitter and astringent.
The fog counteracts this process and prevents teanine from changing to catechin. In other words, fog functions as a natural curtain, reducing the tea trees exposure to sunlight.
As a result of this phenomenon, the tea produced in Wazuka features exceptional sweetness and unique Umami, contributing to its esteemed reputation in Japan.
My recommended tea fields in Wazuka！
There are many tea fields registered under the Landscape Property of Kyoto Prefecture in Wazuka. Among them, I really recommend Ishitera Tea Plantations to visitors！
Ishitera Tea Plantation
I went cycling with some of my fellow university student interns, renting bicycles at Wazuka Cha Café. It takes about 15 minutes to ride from Wazuka Cha Café to Ishitera Tea Plantations. There are some steep slopes on the way there, but we rent electric bicycles, which made it much easier！🚲
Ishitera Tea Plantations is the first Landscape Property of Kyoto Prefecture and also a Japan Heritage. Making use of its steep slope on a slightly elevated hill, the tea fields have grown out extensively. It is a breathtaking view, and we were mesmerized looking at it.
After cycling, we rested at Wazuka Cha Café. There are also many kinds tea at the store, so you can buy something you want.
We then arrived back at D:matcha. One of my favorite parts of the store is the World Map draped along the wall. Customers put stickers on their hometown. As you can see, many customers came here from all over the world. If you visit the store, please put stickers on your hometown！
The World Map at the store
I would like you to visit Wazuka, feel the beautiful nature, and enjoy the traditions that have lasted more than 800 years.
I’d d like to finish up by saying my thoughts about this internship and using English at this store. I could communicate with foreigners in various situations. For example, when I took orders and set the table. Above all, I thank the intern from US, because he reviewed my English to write a blog many times. I really appreciate it.
Thank you very much for taking the time to read my blog.