The Kyoto tea authority announced “hoga sengen” (budding announcement) on April 5th 2019.
It’s 2 days later than last year. Since it was warmer this February, it could have budded earlier than usual. But the temperature was back to normal this March and it became colder at the beginning of this month. After going through "up-and-down" temperature, the announcement turned out to be a bit later than last year.
The announcement is annually issued when about 70% of new buds of “Yabukita” cultivar (the most common cultivar to produce green tea) cultivated at a research institute are grown about twice as big as the size of leaves which are wrapped the buds. Usually, about one month after hoga sengen, tea is ready to be plucked.
In Japan, the new era is going to start on May 1 after the current Emperor abdicate on April 30. Tea season this year is coming together with the opening of the new era "Reiwa", which means "beautiful harmony". It'll be very special for sure!