Wakocha Summit 2015 in Shimoda

An annual wakocha (Japanese black tea) event, what they say “the Domestic Tea Summit”, was held in Shimoda city facing the Pacific Ocean. It is also known as the place where Commodore Matthew Perry arrived to negotiate Japan to open to American trade and the Japan-US Shimoda Treaty was signed in 1857. What a historical place!

Commodore Perry's Monument

It is called "Perry Road"

At the sampling site of the summit, which was open to people in general, we tasted about 20 different kinds of the tea gathered from all over the country. 

The special event, highlighted the city of the sea, was “afternoon tea on board”. While looking at the beautiful ocean on the sightseeing boat, they enjoyed a tea seminar and afternoon tea. Sounds lovely, doesn’t it? 

Before, only tea-related people and tea-enthusiasts came to this event, but not anymore. The tea is finding favor with people in general, which is a good sign.

Actually, what made me excited the most was an evening gathering for people involved. I chatted with the distinguished tea people from various fields including the executive of a tea company, prominent tea experts and shop owners and tea farmers. Of course, they have their own views on the problems, the future of the tea and so on. While chatting with them, I felt that a turning point in wakocha is getting near. I am not sure what it is, but I just felt that.

I know wakocha still has a long way to go, but to look at it from a different angle, it means that the tea has great potential. I trust in it.


Go Out Hunting with Tea !?

“Konkatsu” is popular (in a way!?) here in Japan. That is, “marriage hunting”. Unmarried people attend the a “konkatsu” party or an event in order to find a future better-half. 

A tea company, CHA-ICHI WORKS, held “konkatsu” tea event in Tokyo. It was the seventh time and it seems to be a success all the time. Attendees, who meet there for the first time, work together to test Japanese tea by tasting and guess which is which. When they answer all the questions correctly, they can leave the site together if they like. 

Although it is the first time meeting for them, its relaxing and enjoyable atmosphere seemed to help feel more at ease about speaking to and enliven their conversation. While learning about Japanese tea, they could find a spouse-to-be. I know that tea often brings synchronicity. So I believe that it can happen. Don’t you think? 

* CHA-ICHI WORKS  http://www.chaichiworks.com/


High-Priced Bottled Tea

ITO EN, LTD has released another bottled tea. It’s 100% Gyokuro bottled tea. Very special, isn’t it? 

Usually, bottled tea (525 ml) is about 140-150 yen per bottle. Of course, it is not the same. 1000 yen per bottle (375 ml)!!  It’s special in this way too, right? But it's been selling well :-) 

Photo by ITO EN LTD website

Cross the Ocean

Cool Japan Fund Inc. has decided to invest 260 million yen in new-established company to manage Japanese tea cafĂ© in the States. The new company will be established mainly by MAETAKU CO.,Ltd ( the parents company of MAEDA-EN, USA) , and other 12 companies located in Nagasaki prefecture. 

They are planning to set up 50 outlets within 10 years in the big cities in the States including Los Angeles and San Francisco. They will serve several tea like sencha, hojicha, matcha espresso, caramel hojicha latte, sparkling green tea to name a few. Hasami-yaki, the local pottery, will be used to serve tea in order to make people feel and enjoy more “Japan” and its tea culture. 

Luckily, Japanese food known as “WASHOKU” has been popular outside of Japan. This movement might back up the popularity of Japanese tea, which can also revitalize our tea industry. At least, I believe that many Japanese tea-related people are hoping so. 


* Reference frm the organization’s website:
Cool Japan Fund was founded in November 2013 as a public-private fund with the aim of supporting and promoting the development of demand overseas for excellent Japanese products and services. Cool Japan Fund aims to commercialize the “Cool Japan” and increase overseas demand by providing risk capital for businesses across a variety of areas, including media & content, food & services, and fashion & lifestyle.