The tea from Wazuka town in the Soraku district is called Wazuka Tea. The cultivation of tea began in the early days in the Kamakura Period, by Jishin-shonin. As Wazuka was a production ground for particularly high-class green tea, it was offered to the imperial palace during the Edo Period. Lately Wazuka boasts itself as one of top-class in the nation for the production of tencha (the base tea for making powdered matcha). Literally a tea village, 40% of Uji green tea comes from Wazuka. Wazuka tea has helped to support Uji green tea, a world –class product.
Delicious tea is raised by the clear air, the big difference in temperature between night and day, and the mist that comes from the Wazuka River, the clear waters that run between the layered mountains and the middle of the town. Wazuka is truly a utopia for tea. The beautiful village scenery, featuring the wavy tea fields and the farmers working alongside them, are fitting for an Eden-like tea-topia, and is reminiscent of classic Japanese scenery.
The Nakai Tea Factory has been producing tea in this rich region since the Genroku Era (late 1600s). Since then the 6th proprietor, Masao Nakai, began organic and non-pesticide cultivation in 1980, a time when the word organic was hardly ever used, aiming for a harmonious coexistence with the natural environment. It was a revolutionary move that surprised everyone in the tea industry.
The belief of the Nakai Tea Factory is that producers should, above all else, "create tea that's good for those who drink it, and the environment." This began with Mr. Nakai himself worried over residual pesticides in his body. "Continuing like this is not good for people, society, or the future." He began organic cultivation with this in mind, but faced difficulties such as production volume seeing a drastic 30% decrease over the years. It wasn't until the 7th year of taking on this new challenge until things got on track. The fields and tea trees became lively and the production volume rapidly increased. In winning a prize at the Kansai Fine Tea Fair in 2000 its good quality has been acknowledged.
The garden that has been inherited over the generations is on the slope of a mountain, optimal for tea cultivation. Surrounded by wooded area, and with no neighboring tea fields or farmlands, this region is perfect for organic, pesticide-free cultivation.
We are proud to make this tea sincerely using traditional methods. The tea undergoes the inspection for organic certification once a year, and we use an integrated system from production to sales in order to protect the quality. Processing is carried out by skilled craftsmen at our factory using modern facilities, in order to not harm the flavor of the tea leaves.
The Japan Organic & Natural Foods Association, commonly known as JONA, serves as an organic certification agency, the first in Japan. It was founded in 1993, with Mr. Nakai adding his name to the list of founders, and gathering other like-minded individuals. Since the founding of JONA, the Organic JAS System was launched in 2000.
JONA is highly evaluated overseas due to the reliability and independence of the review and certification system. Its biggest purpose is to promote organic agriculture, and to spread the use of organic food. The Nakai Tea Factory, which agrees with JONA's purpose, is firm in its commitment to continue making tea that is safe to drink.