Students, Others Handpick New Tea in Gifu

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Participants carefully handpick new tea leaves in Higashi-Shirakawa, Gifu Prefecture, on May 11.

HIGASHI-SHIRAKAWA, Gifu — About 90 participants, including students of Nagoya University of Arts and Sciences, on May 11 picked the season’s first tea leaves in an event that helps promote the local industry.

The group took part in the handpicking of new tea leaves in Higashi-Shirakawa, Gifu Prefecture, an area known as the production center of Mino Shirakawa Tea.

The Higashi-Shirakawa village government and the village’s tea industry promotion association signed a partnership agreement in March with the university in Nisshin, Aichi Prefecture, to tackle regional issues.

The association organized the event, and 14 students from the university worked with other participants for about seven hours, pausing along the way for breaks and lunch.

The picking of tea leaves got into full swing on May 11. Participants carefully collected new tea leaves that were all about 5 centimeters long.

“I am impressed every time by the beauty of the tea leaves, and I enjoy interacting with the local people,” said Suzuha Watanabe, 20, a junior at the university who also participated last year.

“I would like to make use of this experience in my studies and help the tea industry grow.”