Tea from Kagoshima, Japan's Top Producer, Lacking Recognition

Society Lifestyle Economy

Kagoshima/Shizuoka, May 12 (Jiji Press)--Kagoshima Prefecture is struggling to make a name for itself as a green tea powerhouse despite dethroning Shizuoka Prefecture as Japan's biggest producer.

The southwestern prefecture surprised the tea industry when statistics released in March showed that it produced 25.2 billion yen's worth of tea leaves in 2019, beating Shizuoka's 25.1 billion yen.

Shizuoka, in central Japan, has long been the green tea capital of the country, topping the production rankings released by the agriculture ministry since such records began in 1967. In 1980, its 74.6-billion-yen output was more than five times greater than that of runner-up Kagoshima.

But the fall in demand for high-grade tea since the industry's heyday has led to a steady decline for Shizuoka's tea business.

"Much of the land (in Kagoshima) is flat and suitable for large-scale machinery, leading to an expansion of production," an official from the agriculture and horticulture division at the Kagoshima prefectural government said.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press