This wisteria-covered gazebo shades a beautiful stone tea table next to the Kinezuka family home in Shizuoka, Japan.
We visited Japan in time (May 2015) to take part in the Kinezuka family's yearly harvest festival, visit the fields and watch them produce a batch of shincha (newest and most precious tea of the year). July's Kukicha tea is made from the stems separated during the shincha production.
Kinezuka-san and sons collect leaves for shincha using a harvesting machine. Each row of tea bushes fills a large bag and once the field is harvested, the bags will be transported to the factory for processing overnight.
The harvested leaves are emptied onto the factory floor, where one of the farmers will stay for several hours to monitor the processing. At the end of the night, 100 kilograms of tea is produced!
It was a pleasure visiting the family and seeing how their delicious organic teas are produced! Here are some more photos from the visit, including our morning green tea, a ride on the family's horses, tempura tea leaves and flower crowns to celebrate the harvest!