There are many tea farms in Japan; Shizuoka and Hamamatsu in Kanto, Chiran in Kyushu, and Uji in Kyoto. While the clear weather in Shizuoka sometimes offers spectacular views of Fuji with tea fields, charming Wazuka in Kyoto prefecture has many breathtaking spots on its own.
Most of the tea that people drink in Kyoto is called Uji-cha. The majority of this tea, however, actually comes from a small town called Wazuka. This town is about twenty-five kilometers southeast from Uji and forty kilometers from Kyoto. As early as the Kamakura period (1192-1333) Wazuka was selected for tea production. This makes it the oldest tea region in Japan. Many tea connoisseurs also consider Uji-cha from Wazuka the best tea in Japan.
Throughout Wazuka, tea fields can be seen from any road, hill or mountain. Not surprisingly, most people who live in the village making their living from tea production. Although you can buy tea in many places in Kyoto, tea in Wazuka is much cheaper. Some inexpensive teas, such as bancha can be bought for under 10 dollars for half a kilogram.
Besides tea field viewing, there are also activities held in Wazuka you can participate in as a tourist or local. One of these is tea picking. Some companies organize events and private tours at their farms. At some of these events, you can even taste onigiri (rice balls) with tea inside for lunch!
Unfortunately, Wazuka is not so easy to reach by public transport. There are no trains or train stations and buses are scarce. Your best bet to get to Wazuka is renting a car. Nonetheless, In the case of some tea events, companies organize buses from train stations to get to the tea farms. Events like this are a great way to see the beautiful town of Wazuka and make new friends.