Picking Tea in Japan
My trip to Shizuoka, Japan included an obligatory trip to a tea plantation. The tea farm was in the hills, a short drive outside of the city. Getting there was a snap since I had rented a car with GPS. The cool thing about the trip is they try to give you an authentic look at what tea farming is like.
When we arrived they gave the group a quick tour of the main buildings. Then we were ushered into a large room where we changed into traditional workers clothes. I wasn’t sure about the proper way to secure my clothing but one of the workers was happy to help me.
After changing into working clothes we made our way up the hill to start work in the rows of tea shrubs. It was quite hot but I was eager to try my hand at picking tea. Everyone fanned out along the rows looking for the perfect tea leaves. I thought the leaves we picked would be given be sent to be dried with the leaves that were picked by the farmers. I was wrong, however, and was quite surprised when they packaged the leaves for me to take home. I was a little embarrassed because I had been working hard and harvested significantly more than anyone else.
The plantation I went to was pretty busy and seemed to be a popular tourist destination. They sold a large number of snacks and souvenirs for visitors to buy, many of the treats were quite unique. They also sold souvenir photos (complete with cheap cardboard frame)to remember the trip. These were roughly $5 which I thought was pretty reasonable.
The best Part of the trip was the view from the plantation. As we picked tea we were given a great view of the town and surrounding mountains. If I go back to Shizuoka, Japan I will definitely plan a trip to the tea plantation again.