YOUR BEST CHOICE FOR JAPANESE GREEN TEA
A well known figure in Higashi-Sonogi
In 2010, Ooyama Yoshiaki san son of Jisaku Ooyama became the fourth generation owner of the Ooyama tea plantation (Higashi-Sonogi, Nagasaki pref.).
He gained business experience by managing a record shop in Tokyo in his twenties. He has set a clear goal of increasing direct sales to customers to fight against the general trend of decreasing green tea sales in Japan, including by targeting overseas customers.
Continuing the award-winning work of his father, Ooyama san wishes to develop new business opportunities, such as producing matcha and organic tea.
We are looking forward to enjoy these in a near future !
lifelong dedication awarded
Not only has Ooyama san's tea won the Agriculture Minister’s Award, but he also received the Yellow Ribbon Medal of Honor for his service to the community.
Indeed he is also an active member of the Higashi-Sonogi Tea Tourism association and has been and still is promoting green tea tourism in the whole area.
THE hIGASHI-SONOGI REGION
Over 500 years of tea history
Higashi Sonogi has a long history of growing tea that stretches back over 500 years. In the Edo period (17th Century), Lord Omura organized the cultivation of tea fields, laying the groundwork for today’s industry.
This tea was first brought to the outside world in the mid-19th Century by a woman merchant, Oura Kei of Nagasaki, who was able to export the tea with the help of a British trader.
Higashi Sonogi is the largest producer of tea in Nagasaki.
The rows of stone terraces built by early farmers for growing tea combined with the views of Omura Bay create a breathtaking, uniquely Japanese landscape.
The produce of the land, including tea, oranges, rice, and vegetables has been tended by generations of the same families.
Nakao Village in Higashi Sonogi is a rural tea-farming community. The land of Nakao Village is located in a belt of hills which were created by volcanic activity long ago. It is at an elevation of around 250 meters, with Omura Bay to the southwest, Mount Kokuzo to the north, and Mount Tara to the south.
The valley in which the villagers reside was cut into this rock by the Sonogi River. The foothills of the mountains are often shrouded in fog, with warm afternoons and cool nights, which is perfect for growing tea.
nOT ONLY TEA
A family business
Today, the entire Ooyama family is dedicated to promoting their green tea through many different channels.
Ooyama Eiko san, Yoshiaki san’s mother, is a certified Japanese Tea Instructor and runs a tea shop where customers can enjoy delicious green tea, just next to the family house, and since 2016 a guest house as well.
Visitors can enjoy the beautiful area of Higashi Sonogi over several days as well as experiencing tea activities like tea leaves picking and processing giving also a true understanding of tea making.
tHE TEAS oF OOYAMA SAN
A Regional Specialty
The leaves of “Sonogi Tea” are kept whole and rolled to gather up each leaf. This process, which makes a type of tea called “Tamaryokucha (Steamed Rolled Tea)”, borrows from traditional tea roasting methods which came to Japan from China and Korea. This method reduces the bitterness of the tea leaves for a smoother finish.
Young tea leaves prepared this way unfold slowly when steeped in a teapot, bringing out a sweetness, rich flavors and aromas that everyone enjoy.
Ooyama san also blends leaves made with “Yabukita” cultivar, that contains a lot of amino acids by covering the new shoots of the tea trees, with leaves of the sweet cultivar “Sae midori”.
Tea leaves are picked around 88 days counting from the first day of spring called “Lichun” in the Japanese lunar calendar. The well-balanced taste of richness and sweetness is popular in all Japan !
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