New Japanese green tea leaves sell for record ¥1.96 million

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Japanese tea industry officials carefully examine new Japanese green tea leaves held at the Shizuoka Japanese Tea Market in Aoi Ward, Shizuoka City, on Monday.

SHIZUOKA — One kilogram of new Japanese green tea leaves grown in Fujinomiya, Shizuoka Prefecture, sold for a record ¥1.96 million at the season’s first auction for new Japanese tea leaves held at the Shizuoka Japanese Tea Market in Shizuoka on Monday.

The handpicked and hand-rolled tea leaves were put up for the auction, which marks the arrival of the new green tea season, by the Fuji-Izu Japan Agricultural Cooperatives, which was launched earlier this month.

The new entity was created through a merger of eight agricultural cooperatives in the eastern part of the prefecture. In celebratory trading, the first deal added ¥888,000 to last year’s highest price. The buyer was tea company Fujinomiya Fujisan Seicha Co.

“Since these leaves grew under favorable weather conditions, they look and taste better than last year’s,” an official at the cooperatives organization said.

The harvest of new Japanese tea leaves produced in the prefecture was limited by rain on the weekend and the trading volume on the day was 1,763 kilograms, about half as much as last year. The average price was ¥5,080 per kilogram, or ¥873 higher than last year’s average price.

At the market, about 400 officials and others checked the texture and aroma of green tea leaves and clapped their hands every time a deal was done.