Wazuka: All Things Green Tea
Know for its Sencha and Matcha teas, Wazuka is a highly regarded tea town in Japan. Tea was brought over from China by a Buddhist monk from Kaijūsen-Ji Temple who was studying in China almost 500 years ago. In 1580 tea ceremonies were being held in newly created tea rooms. Sencha was made by steaming its leaves and Japan begin exporting it by the 1800s, tea accounted for 80% of Japan's exports.
A tour of the production and farming of green tea can be found at Obubu Tea Farm. It is best to spend the night in Uji as it is closer to the tea farm (you can find detailed directions from Uji to the tea farm on the website). As you get close to Wazuka, you will see the winding tea fields dotting the landscape at the foothills of Mt. Juba.
Greeted by our hosts, we started with several tea samples. We then headed to a van to check out the tea farm and to learn about farming. Hiro our driver was great at navigating his van around the precarious hills, he also had a great sense of humor. The tour provides lunch in a local Wazuka restaurant; a green tea Soba noodle. Driving to the processing facility gives you a chance to learn about the curing of tea. The explanation of the special hand-rolled Sencha put me in awe of all the workmanship that goes into creating the tea. Finally back to the house to get schooled on temperatures of tea for brewing, how to prepare Matcha with a whisk, the health benefits of tea. The twist on this part of the tour is a Genmaicha salad and a green tea martini. I can't think of what could be left besides green tea ice cream!