Land of Green, land of fire
Kyushu (九州, Kyūshū, literally "nine provinces") is located on the southwest end of the Japanese archipelago, Kyushu consists of the mainland and a chain of small, sub-tropical islands. It is made up of seven prefectures: Fukuoka, Saga, Nagasaki, Oita, Kumamoto, Miyazaki and Kagoshima. Blessed with rich nature resources and a warm climate, Kyushu is Japan's third largest island. Gigantic caldera volcanoes line up one after another, and appropriately Kyushu is called "Land of Fire."
The southwestern island of Kyushu is the birthplace and beating heart of high grade Japanese green tea. In the 9th century, Eisai, a Buddhist priest, brought back with him tea seeds from China and planted them in the Sefuri mountains (today in Saga prefecture). This marked the beginning of the Japanese tea culture.
Today, Kyushu is known in Japan for producing high grade teas in all of its prefectures, from Fukuoka in the north to Kagoshima in the south. Its warm climate makes it possible to create Gyokuro, Kamairicha and other unique teas as some tea cultivars can only be grown in Kyushu.
Today, Kyushu represents about 36% of the total tea production area of Japan, with Kagoshima at the top (19%). In terms of production volume, Kagoshima has now taken over Shizuoka prefecture. Land and soil in each area influence the tea’s flavour. Production techniques and cultivars are also decisive factors at the origin of the wide variety of flavours and fragrances of Japanese tea.