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Located one hour by bullet train from Tokyo, the prefecture of Shizuoka has welcomed a set of new ecotourism experiences focused on supporting the local communities and small independent producers of green tea, wasabi and soya beans.
Matcha calligraphy to reduce food waste
The newly launched MatchaSho® experience is perfect for travellers keen to challenge their inner calligrapher. This is a unique activity seamlessly blending the serene art of zen Japanese calligraphy with the essence of beloved matcha green tea, while also contributing to the reduction of food waste by using tea leaves that would otherwise be unavoidably discarded during manufacturing processes.
The session is taught by its creator calligrapher Ms. Shoran, who teaches participants how to write their name in Japanese Kanji characters using a powdered green tea solution instead of ink. While painting, the green tea ‘ink’ is of a vivid green colour and turns brown as time passes. Once the task is completed, participants are treated to a refreshing matcha ice-cream and gifted a calligraphy kit to take back home. The experience starts from JPY 35,000 (approx. £193) per person.
Passing on the 270-plus-year-old wasabi cultivation process
The four-hour Wasabi fields and Tofu-making workshop has just launched and offers participants the opportunity to delve into the rich culinary heritage of two of Japan’s most iconic ingredients: wasabi and tofu. As the producer of more than half of all wasabi grown in Japan, Shizuoka is dotted with wasabi fields.
For this experience, participants visit the fields of the onsen town of Shuzenji (perfect spot for a relaxing overnight stay with an array of traditional ryokan accommodation) to learn about the over 270-year-old cultivation process directly from the local producers. This is followed by a hands-on tofu-making masterclass using locally sourced ingredients. For those with extra energy, a hike to a local waterfall or a walking tour of Shuzenji can be added at an additional cost. The workshop starts from JPY 10,000 (approx. £55) per group up to four persons.
Learning about Japan’s finest green tea
Gyokuro green tea is known as the highest quality green tea and is mainly produced in three regions in Japan: Uji (Kyoto), Yame (Fukuoka) and Asahina, a very quiet mountain village in Shizuoka. Gyokuro Green Tea Study is a newly launched tour perfect for tea lovers looking for an exclusive green tea experience.
During this two-hour experience, participants will get to learn all about this fine type of green tea with a tea master, starting with a visit to his private tea farm followed by a lesson on how it is grown, how to brew it correctly and with lots of opportunities to taste it too. The experience starts from JPY 31,000 (approx. £171) for two people with English interpretation included. Lunch can be arranged at an additional cost.
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