There are many Japanese tea cultivars, although in reality only a few are extensively cultivated.
I’m sure that Japanese tea enthusiasts would like to know about all the ones that are available.
For this reason, I decided to list the registered cultivars. By searching online, I found an old list and a new one, so basically I just compiled them into a single list.
Note that there are also non-registered cultivars being used in Japan, but I don’t know the reason why they aren’t registered. Maybe it takes a long time to do so?
Update: Information provided by Fumiki Kawaguchi from Shinkoju.
- Registering a cultivar is optional, so many cultivars are used without being registered. For example the Yutakamidori cultivar which in cultivated area ranks second, never went through the proper cultivation testing but many prefectures wanted it so it spread anyway.
- Some of them have failed the selection process in the past but as times changed they gained more attention, such as the Machiko cultivar.
- Other times, the cultivar is commercialized before the judgment for registration begins and hence it is disqualified, such as the Kouju cultivar. There are many reasons why a cultivar isn’t registered.
From what I understand, the process is now governed by the NARO (National Agriculture and Food Research Organization). However, in the past another organization was in charge.
The list covers cultivars since 1953, when cultivars were first registered in Japan. The last one is 2012, which is believe is the most recent.
|Name||Year of registration||Usage|
By the meaning of their names in Japanese, one can tell many things.
Also, the cultivars with “oku” (interior) in their name are late budding, or banseishu (晩生種).
As you can see in the list, the popular Yabukita cultivar is very old, it was registered in 1953, along with 15 other cultivars.
I’ll be talking about important cultivars in future posts, starting with Yabukita.