Yamato-cha green tea is a kind of Japanese tea produced in an area centering Yamato Plateau in Nara Prefecture.
It is said that cool climate is suitable for growing high quality tea trees and Yamato Plateau satisfies that condition and growing tea trees are encouraged there. Tsukigase Village which is famous for Tsukigase Japanese-plum grove is also an area that is famous for its tea production. The production of tea leaves in Nara Prefecture is ranked at sixth in Japan.
The indication criteria for green tea are publicly announced and, in addition to indication of 'Yamato cha', indication is also used describing 'Tsukigase cha', 'Fukuju cha', 'Yagyu cha', and 'Yamazoe cha' as tea names originated from the names of places the tea leaves are produced.
Main places of production
Northern part of Nara Prefecture: Nara City
Eastern part of Nara Prefecture: Uda City and Yamazoe City
Yamato-midori (by seedling selection from the local varieties)
Meiryoku (by seedling selection from Yabukita)
Local varieties in Nara Prefecture
A variety obtained by cross-breeding from seedlings based on the local varieties in Nara Prefecture is 'Yamato-midori'. This variety was registered in 1953 as 'cha: Norin No. 10'. This variety is a late variety and the tree thereof stands upright and, in the tree vigor, a leaf has an oblong shape and is deep green and, the tree is especially resistant to cold climate, has dense buds, and provides intermediate production. This variety has high seed setting and is regarded as providing high quality tea as sencha (middle grade green tea). This variety was grown in the Branch Station for Tea Industry of the Nara Prefectural Agricultural Experiment Station.
Origin of Yamato-cha
The origin of Yamato-cha green tea is introduced as below.
A Buddhism priest, Kobo-daishi transmitted the production method of Yamato-cha green tea when he returned from Tang in China in 806 with seeds of tea and sowed them in an area which is currently Akahani in Harihara Town in Uda County, and the tea mortar which was also brought by him is preserved until today in Butsuryu-ji temple in Akahani, and the tea seeds are also preserved in the precincts of this temple as 'garden of moss' and, this is also said to be the origin of 'Yamato-cha'.'
In contrast, it is also said that Tarobe YOSHIDA, a person living in Hatano Village purchased seeds of cha from xin-le in Jiang-zhou Province in China and sowed them in a land of about 70 [a]. It is said that Nara has many historical spots concerning Buddhism and Buddhism temples and tea became popular there because of the relation with Buddhism and, on the other hand, yama-cha (wild tea) was seen in many places in Nara and was used to some extent.