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Photo By: PIXTA/ denkei
Region
Kyushu
Island
Kyushu
Largest City
Fukuoka
Population
5,015,666

Yame-cha

A perfect day trip from Fukuoka, Yame is one of Japan’s oldest tea-producing regions.

By Elizabeth Sok

As you delve into the world of Japanese green teas, Uji (Kyoto), Shizuoka and Kagoshima will likely be some of the first regions you’ll come across. However, dig a little more and you’ll find the name of Yame comes up and for good reason. Cultivation here began 600 years ago with seeds being brought back from China by the monk Eirin Shuzui who planted them in Reiganji Temple in Yame City.

A beautiful area in southern Fukuoka Prefecture nestled between the Yabe and Hoshino rivers with an ideal climate for tea cultivation, Yame produces a relatively low volume of tea but consistently picks up top prizes at prestigious national tea competitions.

Yame’s Teas

Yame-cha

Photo by: PIXTA/ TOSHI.K Rows and rows of tea bushes.

Several types of green tea are grown in Yame, which are known collectively as Yame-cha or Yame tea, but it is the gyokuro, known as “jade dew” that stands out from the pack.  For the last decade, Yame’s gyokuro, a sweet and rich-tasting tea with almost no astringency, has been ranked as the country’s finest.

Yame-cha also includes other teas under its umbrella, such as kabusecha (shaded tea) and sencha (loose-leaf tea), which are all known for their smoothness and lack of bitterness, owing partly to the mists of the river which envelop the tea fields and protect the leaves.

If you’re lucky enough to find yourself in Fukuoka City and are looking for a day trip, consider renting a car and heading down to Yame City to tour a tea field and enjoy some of the local food and drink.

Visit Yame Central Tea Plantation nearby. There, you’ll be able to walk around the tea fields and, if you’re feeling adventurous, you can challenge yourself with an eleven-kilometer hiking path that cuts through the plantation. And, for a well-earned break during your trip, pop into one of the many cafes, such as Yamecha Sweets Natsume and sample some fresh tea along with Western and Japanese sweets.

A Traditional Haven

Yame-cha

Photo by: PIXTA/ flyingv Drop by the Yame Traditional Craft Museum to check out local handicrafts.

The Yame area is also known for its traditional crafts, such as Japanese washi paper, paper lanterns for the Obon season, stone lanterns and locally grown bamboo wares, such as tea picking baskets.

At the Yame Traditional Craft Museum, you can view some of these spectacular crafts and hear about how they are made (Japanese only). You can buy fresh yame-cha and sake (rice wine) here too

Things To Know

HOURS AND FEES

The Yame Central Tea Plantation is always open while Yamecha Sweets Natsume is open every day from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

The Yame Traditional Craft Museum is open from Tuesday to Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

WHEN TO VISIT

In Yame, shin-cha, or the first picked tea of the year, is harvested from mid-April to mid-May. Be on the lookout for this sought-after tea for a delicious cup of green.

How To Get There

Address

By train

From Hakata station, take the Tsubame Kyushu Shinkansen to Chikugo-Funagoya station. Then, take the Horikawa Bus to Yame city.

By bus

From Hakata station, take an expressway bus towards Yame city (Yame Interchange bus stop). Then, take the Horikawa Bus into Yame city.

By car

From Fukuoka city, take the Kyushu Expressway to Yame IC.

Where To Stay

Rita Yame Fukushima
  • 13-1 Motomachi, Yame-shi, Fukuoka, 834-0031 Japan
  • ¥18,975 - ¥75,900
  • 4.85/5 (16 reviews)
  • 4.9 km
Craft Inn Té
  • 120-1 Motomachi, Yame-shi, Fukuoka, 834-0031 Japan
  • ¥33,700 - ¥81,400
  • 5.2 km

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