Shizuoka is widely known as the green tea capital of Japan, and is responsible for over 40% of Japan’s tea production. The almost magical beverage boasts many benefits, and it is often touted as a contributor to the longevity and health of the people of Shizuoka. Among its healing properties, Japanese green tea contains Catechin and Theanine which help to prevent cancer and cavities, as well as lower cholesterol, and reduce bad breath.
Kakegawa is the closest station from the Shizuoka venue of the Rugby World Cup 2019, boasts a history of innovation in tea production. Kakegawa is renowned for developing the agricultural method of “Chagusaba” (literally “tea grass field”) – wherein local grasses are grown alongside tea, and used as mulch come the winter. This is not only good for the tea – both insulating root systems and acts as an organic fertilizer – it also encourages biodiversity by providing nourishment to the soil and supports growth of many other smaller plants that would otherwise be overtaken. For this reason, Chagusuba farming in Kakegawa was designated a Globally Important Agricultural Heritage System by The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization in May 2013.
There are many tea plantations in Shizuoka Prefecture, that offer varieties of tea that are not only for drinking, but that can also be eaten. One of the most famous of which is, Kawane. Located on the mountainside on the upper stream of Oi river, Kawane is famous for producing refined, deep-steamed Sencha (green tea).
Around this area, there is a nostalgic steam locomotive that still operates on the Oigawa Railway. Take the train to see the huge tea plantation from aboard, or get off the train to capture the lush scenery of this tea plantation as a backdrop to the whimsical black locomotive. Surrounded in mountains, Kawane features no shortage of unforgettable natural scenery.