One of the reasons premium quality matcha—the kind that’s used in Japanese tea ceremonies—is so precious, is that it’s very hard to come by. In fact, there are only a few specific regions of Japan in which the finest matcha tea powder is produced.
You’ll find that these regions have a few things in common; they’re usually near rivers and boast quality, fertile soil, they’re historically located as far away as possible from cities and large populations and they’ve been producing their matcha pretty much the same way for hundreds of years.
At Matcha Zen, our premium, ceremonial grade matcha is all produced in Uji, a fertile area near Kyoto and along the Uji river. Known largely for its production of the finest teas, matcha has been cultivated in the Uji region since the 14th century, when seeds were first brought there by Shogun Ashikaga Yoshimitsu.
The tea grown in Uji is known as ujicha. Uji is also known for its historic sites and beautiful natural scenery.
Located in the Aichi prefecture, Nishio is a major commercial center in Japan. Nishio has a climate well suited to the production of tea—in fact, it’s Japan’s largest production area for green tea.
Nishio has been cultivating its teas since the 13th century, and the particular tea produced there is called nishiocha.
Like Nishio, Shizuoka is a large production area for tea, producing 40% to 45% of the tea made in Japan. It’s well known for its natural beauty and climate and quality water.
Tea production in Shizuoka dates back to the 13th century, when Shoichi Kokushi, a monk, brought matcha seeds back from his travels. Shizuoka is also home to a tea museum and popular tea festival.
An island of Japan, Kyushu contains seven prefectures, most of which grow their own unique varieties of tea, including matcha. Kyushu is well known for its innovations and efficient, modern techniques for cultivating and harvesting varieties of tea.