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Yame Central Tea Garden

Tracking down tea at its source in Fukuoka

“Somewhere in those hills is a tea garden.” It was a phrase I kept repeating with increasing determination as I drove in seemingly aimless circles on the busy roads of Yame town. A few wrong turns, one stop for directions and I found the little lane just past a store selling tea (what else) that led deeper and deeper into the heart of Yame’s tea-growing region. What the brochure called a garden was in reality hundreds of acres of tea bushes, a veritable green sea. From the viewpoint at the crest of a hill, I gazed down on the hazy fields. Even in winter, with the bushes not yet nearing the picking season, the panorama was breathtaking. You can arrange tours of the fields in spring and summer but on this day, it was enough to just sit and soak up the scenery.

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