Tea Cultivation in Japan: Differences between Hillside and Flatland Areas

Japan is home to a diverse range of tea cultivation areas, varying from hillside to flatland areas. Tea cultivated on mountain slopes, in particular, is known for its exceptional quality. Interestingly, 38% of the hillside tea farms are located on an inclination of 15 degrees. These farms are usually small-scale and often rely on manual labor rather than machines for harvesting. On the other hand, tea estates located on flat land commonly employ advanced automation systems for picking and maintenance. As a result, the style of tea cultivation between hillside and flatland areas differs significantly.

In the Shizuoka prefecture, for instance, automatic rail harvesters are more commonly used than auto harvesters. Conversely, in Kagoshima prefecture, auto pluckers are more prevalent. The reason for this difference is that 75.5% of tea farms in Kagoshima are located on less than 5 degrees of inclination, making auto pluckers a more suitable option. In contrast, only 43.9% of tea farms in Shizuoka are located on less than 18 degrees of inclination, making auto-style harvesters impractical for hillside tea farms.

Tea farms that use rail harvesters for their harvest often have a half-circle appearance, while those using other methods appear more flat on the surface. Regardless of the harvesting method used, tea cultivation in Japan remains a complex and intricate process that requires careful attention to detail to produce the highest quality tea.

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