• Travel Spots

Japan Tourism / Shizuoka ‘Chanoma’ Tea Terrace Offers Spectacular Views

Photo by Akira Uchida / Special to Ryoko Yomiuri Publication
The view from the Panorama Tea Terrace in Shimizu Ward, Shizuoka

SHIZUOKA — In Shizuoka Prefecture, Japan’s largest tea producer, popularity is growing for “chanoma” tea terraces, where visitors can enjoy panoramic views while having Japanese green tea on wooden decks installed in green tea fields. Among the six tea terraces in the prefecture, I visited the Panorama Tea Terrace in Shimizu Ward, Shizuoka.

The “Chanoma Project” started in 2019, aiming to promote green tea produced in Shizuoka.

Photo by Akira Uchida / Special to Ryoko Yomiuri Publication
The Gold Leaf Tea Terrace in Aoi Ward, Shizuoka

“While the Panorama Tea Terrace is the fifth of this kind, the location had been a candidate site when the project was still at the planning stage. The opening of this tea terrace was long-awaited,” said Kyoka Suzuki of Aobeat, the company operating the project. Her comment raised my expectations for the tea terrace.

It takes about 40 minutes by a free shuttle bus to get to the Nippondaira Hotel from the south exit of Shizuoka Station. I went to the front desk at the terrace lounge on the first floor of the hotel and received a tea set, a chabudai low table, a cushion and a blanket.

Photo by Akira Uchida / Special to Ryoko Yomiuri Publication
The Nippondaira Hotel

It is about a 10 minute-walk to the tea terrace. Customers are supposed to carry all the items themselves. For that reason, the tea terrace only accepts customers in a party of two or more in principle. I was in trouble as I came by myself. Since there were fragile items such as a teacup, I was wondering how I should carry them. Then, one of the hotel staff offered to help me. There is nothing more delightful than receiving kindness while traveling. “The tea set includes the hotel’s original Mt. Fuji cookies, and many customers buy other sweets at the hotel,” the hotel staff said. As I chatted while walking with the hotel staff, I felt as if I were carrying camping items, which made me feel excited.

Photo by Akira Uchida / Special to Ryoko Yomiuri Publication
Visitors should note that the Panorama Tea Terrace does not have a roof or bathroom.

We arrived at the tea terrace shortly thereafter. The wooden deck is about 1.75 meters high, and customers should take off their shoes before going up the steps. My first impression was that the deck was much larger than expected. The deck is around 40 square meters so it can be used for events such as wedding photography.

As I looked in front of me, I saw a snow-capped Mt. Fuji with its beautiful ridges stretching to its right and left. I could also see the Shimizu port, Miho no Matsubara pine grove and Suruga Bay as well as green tea fields out in the foreground. I was wowed by the breathtaking view, typical of Shizuoka.

I opened the folded chabudai table and prepared tea utensils on it. I had cold sencha green tea and hot hojicha tea that day. First, I drank the sencha green tea, which sunk deep into my dry throat, followed by a slightly sweet aftertaste. High-quality sencha tea is called “kanro (sweet dewdrops),” which I became convinced is the perfect name for it.

Next, I drank the hojicha tea. I put tea leaves in a kyusu teapot and poured in a pot of boiling water. I was told that the trick is to wait for about 30 seconds before drinking. I enjoyed the aroma unique to hojicha tea while taking in the spectacular view.

Photo by Akira Uchida / Special to Ryoko Yomiuri Publication
Sencha and hojicha tea

***

Japan Tourism is presented in collaboration with Ryoko Yomiuri Publication, which publishes Ryoko Yomiuri, a monthly travel magazine. If you are interested in the original Japanese version of this story, click here.