Vol.1 Welcome to Tokushiba Farm's Blog: Bringing You 600 Years of Yame Tea Tradition and Nature's Blessings

  1. Introduction

Hello everyone, I'm Horiuchi from Tokushiba Farm.

We're excited to launch our new blog. Here, we aim to share our passion for organic tea cultivation, our vision, and the rich Japanese tea culture to enhance your enjoyment of our teas.

Today, we'll delve into the 600-year history of Yame tea, which forms the backdrop of our activities.



  1. The History and Charm of Yame Tea

"Where there's tea, there's Yame; where there's Yame, there's tea" - This Edo period saying reflects the special place Yame tea holds among Japanese teas.

The nationally renowned Yame tea actually originated in the Kasahara region where we operate. Its history dates back to 1423 when a Zen monk named Eirin Shuzui returned from studying at Lingyàn Temple in China, bringing tea seeds with him. After traveling across Japan, he arrived in Kakoo Village (present-day Kasahara district) in Chikugo Province. Here, he encountered a landscape reminiscent of Lingyàn Temple in Suzhou, China, and determined it was ideal for tea cultivation. He established Reigan-ji Temple and devoted himself to Zen practice and the transmission of tea cultivation and processing techniques. This is considered the origin of Yame tea.

(Reiganji-temple and Shuzui Zen monk)


Subsequently, Yame tea spread as a major industry in the mountainous areas of the Yame region for centuries. Tea is inherently a mountainous crop. The large daily temperature fluctuations and mineral-rich mountain soil are ideal for producing high-quality tea. The climate and soil of Yame are particularly suitable, earning it high praise since ancient times.

(Our Tea Gardens Located in the Kasahara- mountain District)

Currently, Yame tea accounts for only about 3% of Japan's tea production, but it has established itself as a top-grade tea. In fact, Yame tea commands the highest unit price in domestic distribution.



  1. Current Challenges Facing Yame Tea

However, recent changes in agriculture have posed significant challenges to Yame tea, especially in mountainous areas.

The spread of modern conventional farming methods based on pesticides and chemical fertilizers has made tea cultivation possible even on flat land. In other words, average quality tea can now be produced almost anywhere. Even in Yame City, you can often see tea plantations in low-altitude urban areas, although tea is traditionally a mountainous crop.

This change has led many farmers to seek tea plantations on flat land for two main reasons. Firstly, flat land is more spacious and allows for better work and production efficiency. Secondly, in the current tea industry, earlier harvested tea tends to fetch higher prices.

Moreover, the decline of gift-giving cultures like Ochugen and Oseibo, along with the proliferation of bottled tea, has significantly decreased domestic tea consumption. The increasing number of young people who can't brew tea in a teapot is also a major concern.

These factors have led to a noticeable increase in abandoned tea plantations in the mountainous areas of Yame. Combined with the population outflow due to modernization, the number of young people to carry on the future of this region has decreased, and vacant houses have increased. It pains me to witness the current decline of this area, imagining its 600-year history as a nationally renowned tea-producing region.



  1. The Beginning of Tokushiba Farm and Our Vision

Driven by the desire to change this situation and introduce the charm of tea to those who haven't yet discovered it, I moved to the Kasahara district of Yame City in 2017 and started tea production. We took over abandoned tea plantations, converted them all to organic cultivation, and are now challenging ourselves with a new form of tea production.

Young colleagues have joined us, and as we expanded our scale, we now have the largest field area in the Kasahara district. Ironically, it's because many farmers have withdrawn that I, a newcomer, have been able to come this far.

(Tokushiba Crew)

Our vision is "V-shaped recovery through a return to origins."

The Yame tea industry began 600 years ago and developed for over 500 years. It once grew explosively with modern mass production methods and reliance on pesticides and chemical fertilizers, but is now in decline.

We believe that to connect this industry to the future, we need to return to the old ways. Pesticides and chemical fertilizers burden the environment and soil, and the practice of exterminating insects that increase due to excessive fertilizer use as pests destroys the ecosystem. Isn't the current critical situation showing the limitations of these farming methods?

We want to revitalize the declining tea industry in this mountainous area by utilizing the advantages of this land and practicing agriculture that harmonizes with nature and the animal kingdom. A great crisis is also a great opportunity.



  1. Summary

Today, we've explored the history of Yame tea and explained our raison d'être. Let's recap the key points:

  • Yame tea has a 600-year history, and the tea produced from its favorable climate and mineral-rich soil has been highly popular since ancient times and is still positioned as Japan's top-grade tea.
  • While Yame tea still maintains its reputation, the spread of conventional cultivation in recent years has drastically reduced the amount of authentic tea produced in its original mountainous areas. With the challenge of decreased consumption in the tea industry as a whole, the tea industry in mountainous areas is in a critical situation.
  • We at Tokushiba Farm are engaged in tea production in this traditional area, practicing agriculture that harmonizes with nature through traditional organic cultivation, aiming for a V-shaped recovery of the local tea industry.


Thank you for reading this far.

In this blog, we will continue to bring you various topics related to tea. We also plan to share our daily efforts at our farm and activities to revitalize the local tea industry.

Please enjoy this blog while leisurely brewing a cup of tea.

Lastly, we would be grateful if you could purchase our tea as a way of supporting our activities. Currently, we're having a time sale with all products available at a 30% discount.

We look forward to connecting with you all through tea.


Tokushiba Farms

Representative Toshiharu Horiuchi

Back to blog

Leave a comment