Our history

"The oldest tea making method in Japan"

East Asia

Tea, which is deeply rooted in Japanese life, is said to have been introduced from mainland China by "Mission to Tang" during the Nara period (AD 710-794). The Kyushu region where we live is geographically close to mainland China and the Korean Peninsula, and has played an important role as the first place where many cultures were introduced to Japan since ancient times. Kamairi-cha (Pan Fired Tea) is a tea-making method that was first introduced to Japan, but its production is only about 0.4% of the total production in Japan. Today, it has become a very rare tea-making technology that remains only in a part of the Kyushu region.  This method involves roasting fresh tea leaves in a large iron wok with a diameter of about 4.9 feet, but there were two style in Kyushu. One is the "Ureshino style" centered around Ureshino city, Saga prefecture, and the other is the "Aoyagi style" centered around Yamato town, Kumamoto prefecture (Yabe district) and Takachiho, Miyazaki prefecture.  There were differences in the shape of the large iron wok and the manufacturing process, but both have been deeply loved by everyone as a famous tea in Kyushu.

"Royal warrant of appointment"

Kyushu Island

Kamakura / Muromachi period (AD 1185-1573),

The feudal lord Aso family, a powerful family who controls mainly in the mountains of Kyushu, set up a political economy base in Yabe-area (currently Yamato Town), so the delicious tea in this area has become widely known. After that, engineers from the Korean Peninsula settled in this area and made kamairicha from native mountain tea and industrialized it.

Cherry blossoms and Kumamoto Castle

Edo period (AD 1603-1867),

The shape of the leaves of this tea resembles that of a willow that has been bent and withered, so it was named "Aoyagi" and was later presented to Kumamoto Castle.  Regarding the origin of the name "Aoyagi tea", " During the Genroku era (1688-1704), staff at the border office between Higo (Kumamoto Prefecture) and Hyuga (Miyazaki Prefecture) were very surprised to find very good quality tea in Yabe-area. Therefore, they named the carefully selected one "Aoyagi tea" and presented it to the feudal lord Hosokawa, and he was very pleased." Such a history book was found. In addition, it was set up in Yamato town (Yabe district Shira-ito area) as the Gozen tea garden(Tea garden for the feudal lord) of the Higo domain, and was made to give to the feudal lord Hosokawa. It is said that this continued until the "Meiji Restoration," the industrial revolution in Japan. The manufacturing method has spread even more widely, and "Aoyagi tea" has become widely known as a famous tea in both name and taste.


Aoyagi tea

Meiji / Taisho period (AD 1868-1926),

As technology progressed and exchanges with Ureshinocha engineers became more active, "Aoyagi tea" changed to a rounded shape and became known as "Yabe tea". In 1875, Japan's first black tea training center was established in Kumamoto prefecture in an attempt to promote the production of black tea by developing and using mountain tea. Around this time, Yabe tea technicians learned Western techniques and started making black tea on a trial basis using the local mountain tea.
During this period, Tomejiro Shimoda, the ancestor of our family, visited not only Kyushu but also Japanese tea-producing areas in order to promote our own industrialization. He brought back excellent tea fruits from Shizuoka and sown them in the mountains behind his home. Even now, the place is called "Chayabo" and it is the name of the area. In addition to the tea-making method that has been cultivated up to that point, the tea plant has been improved in terms of varieties to add further uniqueness.

Involves roasting tea leaves in a large iron wok with a diameter of about 4.9 feet.

Showa period (AD 1926-1989),

The production volume has expanded by constructing a production line for the tea-making process, which was previously made with only one large iron wok, using machines suitable for each process. The era of great-grandfather Kiyoshi Shimoda was an era in which the tea farm area was expanded widely, and with the influx of modernization, the method shifted to mechanical manufacturing. At the beginning of mechanization, it was common to gather at a local communal tea factory to make it. However, in order to pursue our own tea industry, we built our own factory at home earlier than anyone else. Until now, the line production method of harvesting tea in its own tea farm and producing tea in its own tea factory was already established in 1970, more than 50 years ago.

Take a break in a corner of the tea plantation

Heisei period (AD 1990-2019),

Every year, we always win the top prize in our national tea evaluation committee. Today, we have a higher degree of control over tea quality on a daily basis. Each of our tea fields is located in more than 10 remote locations. And we have more than 20 kinds of tea varieties suitable for the place. During the period of high economic growth in Japan (AD 1964-), there was a tendency for all products to be mass-produced. The same is true for tea, and large-scale tea gardens have been established all over Japan. However, at the same time, cultivating the tea farm as a single crop means expanding the damage caused by pests. At that time, spraying pesticides on tea fields was commonplace in the Japanese tea industry. We have found that by owning a variety of varieties and remote tea farms, it is possible to minimize the damage caused by pests. Against this background of the times, by managing remote tea fields and adopting tea tree pruning technology, we were among the first to establish a growing method that does not use pesticides more than 30 years ago. In addition, in 2005 (AD 2005), as seen from its history, we developed our own tea-making machine to revive the "Aoyagi tea" that the Japanese once loved. Our "safe and delicious tea" won the highest honor and Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Forestry Award at the National Tea Quality Review Board.

Roast tea with a machine

Reiwa period (AD 2020- ),

There was always tea in our daily lives. Since its founding, we can continue to deliver "Aoyagi tea," "Kamairicha," and "Yabe tea," which have been loved in each era, as a time of relaxation for everyone. We hope that many tea lovers around the world will know about our tea through this site. We hope you enjoy it.

Japanese modern tea