June 2023 - Sencha from Chiran, in the prefecture of Kagoshima

For June and July 2023 we selected two similar teas, from the same producer in Chiran, Kagoshima, Southern tip of Japan. The first one is a Sencha, and the second one a Shincha. That will allow you to compare the taste of both teas...

But first, let's focus on the city of Chiran!


Chiran Samurai Residence Street by STA3816, used under CC BY 3.0 (cropped from original).


Chiran (知覧) is a charming town located in Kagoshima, Japan. Situated on the southern tip of the Satsuma Peninsula, it offers a blend of historical significance and natural beauty. Chiran is best known for its historical connection to World War II, serving as a base for kamikaze pilots. The Chiran Peace Museum for Kamikaze Pilots (知覧特攻平和会館) provides insights into their lives and experiences.

The town is also famous for its traditional Japanese gardens (回遊式庭園), which feature serene landscapes and meticulous design. Chiran's samurai residences, called "bukeyashiki" (武家屋敷),m offer a glimpse into the samurai culture during the Edo period.

Chiran boasts stunning natural surroundings, including beautiful coastlines and lush greenery. It is a popular destination for outdoor activities like hiking and cycling. Additionally, Chiran is renowned for its agricultural products, particularly sweet potatoes and green tea.


Traditional Old Japanese Samurai House by Naokijp, used under CC BY 4.0 (cropped from original).

Tea Production in Chiran

Tea production in Chiran is highly regarded for its premium green tea. The region benefits from an ideal climate, volcanic soil, and meticulous cultivation practices. Tea from Chiran, also known as "chiran-cha" (知覧茶), is prized for its vibrant green color, delicate aroma, and rich flavor profile.

Tea farmers in Chiran employ careful techniques throughout the production process. The tea plants, primarily Camellia Sinensis, are carefully maintained and hand-picked during the spring harvest, selecting only the finest leaves. These leaves undergo steaming to preserve their color and flavor, followed by rolling, drying, and sorting to ensure quality.

The tea industry plays a significant role in the local economy and culture. Chiran features tea plantations, factories, and shops that provide insights into tea production, offer tastings, and showcase the tea culture. Chiran tea has gained recognition for its exceptional quality both domestically and internationally.


Tea Plantation in Chiran by Ray_go, used under CC BY 3.0 (cropped from original).

Brewing Chiran-cha

To prepare Chiran-cha, the amount of tea used should be adjusted according to your preferred taste. Generally, it's recommended to use around 1 tablespoon (5 grams) of Sencha for 200ml (7oz) of spring water. The tea should be steeped in water at around 75ºC (170ºF) for one minute for the first infusion. For subsequent infusions, you can increase the temperature and reduce the steeping time.