When I was cycling to Shigaraki, I came upon an area with many tea plantations. In May the tea plants had fresh young growth on the tips. In my opinion it makes the best green tea! I think picking the tips must be boring, painstaking work though. Sometimes the beautiful mounded rows of tea plants were growing right next to newly flooded rice fields. It was a truly Japanese countryside scene - rice and green tea!
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Tea Plantations in Shiga Prefecture
Green tea and rice in the Japanese countryside