Kagoshima overtakes Shizuoka in green tea output for Japan's top spot

Kyodo -- May 29
Kagoshima has overtaken Shizuoka in output equivalent to green tea sales, gaining the top spot in Japan, with differences in cultivation methods between the two prefectures and changes in consumer tastes behind the shift.

Kagoshima had output equivalent to 25.2 billion yen ($2.32 million) worth of green tea leaves sales in 2019, compared to Shizuoka's 25.1 billion yen, according to data released in March by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries. Shizuoka thus lost the position as Japan's leader in tea output it had held since 1967 when data was first compiled.

Output in Shizuoka has decreased more than 40 percent over the past decade, while Kagoshima's has remained constant.

As Kagoshima has extensive areas of flat land as compared to the rest of Japan, local tea farmers have promoted large-scale cultivation and capitalized on the growing demand for bottled tea. In contrast, Shizuoka has continued to focus on high-grade tea.

Given the persistent contraction of the domestic market, however, both prefectures are stepping up efforts to increase exports. - Kyodo