Continued from Shining the Spotlight on Great Japanese Cultivars – Part One


This elite variety is reserved for Gyokuro and is not widely grown. Seen mainly in the Uji region of Kyoto and some parts of Shizuoka, Gokou has a very distinctive sweet taste and characteristic Gyokuro fragrance. This is premium at its best! Because it’s a slow grower, it has a longer harvesting time, perfect for shade-grown cultivation.

Yutaka Midori

Predominantly hailing from Kagoshima, Yutaka Midori is grown for Sencha and Bancha production. Bless this variety because it gets a bad wrap! Most Yutaka Midori is grown in non-organic conditions where it’s easier to bring the fuller flavors front and center.  Organic teas, on the other hand, have a challenge with finding the best flavors and aromas. Because of being conventionally cultivated, it can yield larger quantities. It is often sold as Aracha for tea shops across Japan to “finish”, and is blended with other varieties to alter the taste, aroma and color, meaning the true Kagoshima essence is eventually lost. It’s a profitable commodity and is widely traded. When you get an authentic, organic, unblended Yutaka Midori, the pure, fragrant brew is heavenly. When you have the chance, try this in its organic form as it might just be the best organic tea you’ll find.


Incredible Sayama-midori gets a round of applause for really kick-starting the whole registration of cultivars in 1953. This slow grower develops incredible nutritional components and is famous for producing great Sencha.


First developed in Saitama Prefecture, Sayama-kaori is often compared to Yabukita. This hearty, strong variety is an excellent one for high productivity. “Kaori” means fragrance in Japanese, so it’s no wonder this variety scores high on aroma as well as having a strong taste to match. Producing a tea with a very strong floral nose and a sweet and creamy taste, Sayama-kaori is the Eau du Parfum of the Japanese tea world.


Not to be confused with saEmidori, Samidori is often regarded as one of the best varieties in Japan.  This treasure produces some of the most remarkable Gyokuro and Matcha there is. With a characteristic sweetness and a brew that is on the yellow side, Samidori is a slow grower with a precious yield. This charmer is grown mainly in the Uji region of Kyoto but certainly has a presence in Yame.


The subtle elegance of Asahi is perfect for creating Matcha and often celebrates First Place in tea tasting competitions across Japan. With a short harvesting period, this variety commands a high price tag for its rarity and award-winning quality.

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