Visiting Wazuka-cho, the production center of Uji Tea, with another name called ‘Chagenkyo’
Text : Hiroki Hayashi / Photo : Kaina Honma
Wazuka-cho is located in the southern part of Kyoto Prefecture close to Nara Prefecture. It is a small town with only 4,200 population in the mountains, but it is well-known as the production center of Uji Tea producing about 40% of Uji Tea in the nation.
The whole entire town is dotted with tea plantations and they spreads on the mountain slopes everywhere so that people call them as ’Chagenkyo (Tea paradise on earth)’ and now people start featuring this spot as a sightseeing place in these days.
Chaburaya Farm is the one that produces tea without using agricultural chemicals and artificial fertilizer. A representative, Mr. Yuma Noike was born in 1981. He is not from local and nor he was born in farmer family. He is a new comer for the tea farm world.
Mr. Noike guided us to his Chaburaya farm and we saw bunch of organized tea trees on the steep mountain slope.
Mr. Noike started talking, “We need food in order to live, so that I wanted to make something for our lives” in front of the tea trees. He moved to Wazuka-cho in 2006 and started working as a part-time job at a tea farmer introduced by his friend. He learned how to plant and grow tea and became independent after he rent tea farms. His company became an incorporated association in 2015 and now he has about 1 hectare tea farm land.
Chaburaya Farm produces Sencha tea, Houjicha tea, Genmai Tea, even English tea and Oolong Tea as well. In order to purchase their products, you need to visit their store called ‘Wazuka-cha Cafe’ in the center of the town. We found their tea products among the other tea famers’ ones at the shop.
Luckily, English tea that the cafe offers on the menu was from Chaburaya Farm on that day (the cafe uses different tea farms’ leaf in rotation), so that we ordered it and it was very mild taste without any bitter shape taste, and it went well with a sweet which uses Wazuka-cha in its ingredient.
Wazuka-cha Cafe has a morning market once in a month every Sunday and also provides information of sightseeing around. By feeling the flesh air of the mountains around which produce local tea-leaf and drinking tea is such an amazing time. Why don’t you visit Wazuka-cho once in your life time?
WEBSITE : http://www.wazukanoshizuku.jp/
ADDRESS : 35 Wazuka-cho Shires Ohazama, Soraku-gun, Kyoto Prefecture
PHONE : +81(0)774-78-4180
HOURS : 10:00 a.m. ~ 5:00 p.m. (Sunday starts from 9:00 a.m.)
CLOSE : none (only close at year-end and New Year holidays)
*Sunday Morning Market will be held from 10:00 a.m. till noon at the parking lot in front of the Cafe.
★TRAVEL IDEA ‘10 Things To Do in Kyoto'
① Visiting Temples and Shrines
② Buying souvenirs
③ Visiting Arashiyama・Sagano
④ Having Kyo-ryori
⑤ Wearing Kimono
⑥ Having Japanese tea
⑦ Having seafood
⑧ Visiting shops in Machiya
⑨ Being exposed to a traditional culture
⑩ Feeling nature