We don’t publicize it too actively, but the Kinezuka family does take requests for visits…if you are willing to work hard on the farm, experiencing real farm life. It’s not a vacation (you may have to see animals go from squawking to stew pot), but it is a truly one-of-a-kind wonderful experience as writer Tynan can attest to.
Read his blog post about staying with Ayumi and her family: “Visiting a Japanese Tea Farm”
Ayumi picks me up at the Fujieda station. She’s wearing ninja-toed boots and work pants, and is driving a tiny Japanese pickup truck with a dog in the back. I immediately realize that this family isn’t just marketing or selling the tea– it’s their life.
I hop in the truck and chat with Ayumi as we head to the tea fields. Fujieda is part of the famous Shizuoka region, known for producing some of the best green tea in the world. Unlike areas like Kagoshima, in the south, Shizuoka farmers grow their tea on the mountains, bordered by forests.
So we wind through tightly coiled mountain roads with terrifying speed until we arrive to a steep tea field rooted into the side of the mountain. Ayumi’s brother and sister in law are holding the gas powered tea harvester, waiting for me. I watch them harvest a couple rows of tea, and then I’m handed control of the machine and I get to harvest a couple rows with Ayumi’s brother. I’m grateful to get to experience a tiny sliver of what it’s like to be a tea farmer.