‘Kettle Roasted Tea’
The beginning of Japanese tea
Tea that is deeply rooted in the life of the Japanese, following its history, It is believed to have been transmitted from China by the Tang Dynasty during the Nara period (AD 710 - 794). The Kyushu district where we live is geographically close from the mainland China and the Korean Peninsula, and had an important role as the first place where many cultures have been transferred to Japan since ancient times. ‘Kettle Roasted Tea’ is the tea making method first introduced to Japan, but its production is only 0.4% of the whole of Japan.
Ureshino and Aoyagi
Today it is a very rare tea making technology that remains in only a part of the Kyushu region. This manufacturing method also roasting raw tea leaves with the kettle, but there were two flows in Kyushu. One is the manufacturing method of Ureshino tea, centering on Ureshino in Saga prefecture, and the other is Aoyagi tea which spreads mainly in Takachiho Miyazaki prefecture and Yamato Town (Yabe Township). There was a difference in the shape of the kettle and the process of the recipe, but both people were lovingly cultivated and consumed in Kyushu.
Kamakura / Muromachi Period (AD 1185 ~ 1573),
Mr. Aso, a ruler who dominates the mountains in Kyushu, puts the center of political at Yabe Township (now Yamato Town), so the tasty tea in this area has become widely known to the public. After that, engineers from the Korean Peninsula settled in this area, They made 'Kettle Roasted Tea' from mountain tea which grew naturally. Then gradually 'Kettle Roasted Tea' has become industrialized.
Edo Period (AD 1603 - 1867),
Kumamoto, Japan at Kumamoto Castle.[/caption] Because this leaf shape resembles the leaf of the willow withered by long lag, the "Aoyanagi" was called and so that it became a dedication to the lords of Kumamoto castle later. Regarding the origin of the name "Aoyagi tea", the following record is left.
「元禄年間（1688～1704年）、肥後（熊本県）と日向（宮崎県）の国境番所の役人が、矢部郷附近の茶の品質が大層優秀であると認め、精選したものを青柳と命名し、藩主細川候に献上したところ大いに喜ばれた。」 "Genroku era (1688 - 1704). The Official at the border of Higo (Kumamoto Prefecture) and Hyuga (Miyazaki Prefecture). They recognized that the quality of tea near Yabe Township is very excellent. And they named tea as ”Aoyagi”. They delivered it to the lord of Higo Hosokawa, and the lord was very pleased. "
In addition, the tea garden under the direct control of the Higo (Kumamoto Prefecture) is installed in Yamato Town (Shiraito in Yabe township). It was dedicated as a the presentation of Aoyagi tea to the lord of Higo Hosokawa. Manufacturing methods also propagated more widely, ”Aoyagi tea” became widely known as a excellent tea.
Meiji - Taisho era (AD 1868 - 1926),
Technological progress , Exchange with Ureshino tea engineers began.Aoyagi tea changed to a rounded shape and became called Yabe tea. In 1875, the first tea learning place in Japan was established in Kumamoto prefecture in order to encourage the production of Black tea by developing and using mountain tea. Around this time, Yabe tea engineers learned Western technology and started using tea production experimentally using mountain tea of the features. During this period, my ancestor, Tomejiro Shimoda , visited not only Kyushu but also Japanese tea production area in order to realize our own unique industrialization. He brought back his house better tea seeds from Shizuoka prefecture. And he planted that tea seeds in the mountain of his house.Even now it is called the place "chayabo", it is the name of the our local. In addition to the tea recipe that has been told, further improvement was added by improving the plant called tea from the variety.
Showa period (AD 1926 - 1989),
It was a tea making process which was made with a single round pot so far. However, by using a machine suitable for each process and building a production line, the production volume expanded. The era of my great grandfather, Kiyoshi Shimoda was an era where tea fields were widely reclaimed and shifted to machinery manufacturing methods along with modernization that thrusts. Until then, our ancestors were making tea at a joint factory in the area. My grandfather, Kiyoshi built our own factory sooner than anyone else. Current, we have made tea in our own tea plant and manufacture tea at our own tea factory, its line production method was already done in Showa era (1926-1988).
Heisei period (AD 1990 ~)
Every year, Our tea receive a top prize at the competitive exhibition of Japanese tea. Currently, we are managing tea with more advanced technology. Each of the tea fields is located in more than 10 distant places. And there are over 20 different tea varieties adapted to that place. During the period of high economic growth in Japan (AD 1964 -), there was a trend to mass produce all the goods.As for Japanese tea, large-scale tea garden was made all over Japan. At the same time, however, producing a plant tea as a single means expanding the damage of pests. At that time, spraying pesticides was commonplace in the Japanese tea industry. With such an era background, We decided to manage each separated tea fields. And we adopted the advanced pruning technology of tea. As a result, we established a growing method that does not use pesticides earlier than other farmers over 30 years ago. In addition, in 2005 (AD 2005), as seen from its history, We developed our own tea making machine to revive "Aoyagi tea" that former person loved. Our "safe and delicious tea" was awarded the highest honor · agriculture and forest minister award at the competitive exhibition of Japanese tea. Since its founding, We have learned and prepared from the tea production history and are hoping to connect and expand to the future of tea. We hope you have a better understanding of traditional Japanese tea and enjoy drinking our ‘daily’ tea.