Chanome

OCHA TIMES
Chanome

A Japanese tea cafe, in which you can feel a connection with Shoichi Kokushi who spread tea through Japan, run by MORITA SEICHA, an old tea processing company founded more than 60 years ago

Chanome is a Japanese tea cafe with a quaint atmosphere as if the cafe blends into peaceful nature scenery. Reportedly, near the cafe is the house of Shoichi Kokushi who spread tea to Japan.

茶の芽

Autographs of celebrities line the wall of the cafe.

In addition to recommended Japanese tea, they offer a variety of items that go well with Yaki-dango (grilled rice dumpling), Hojicha Pudding, and Matcha Chocolate Fondue.

A chiffon cake is provided on weekends.

I ordered Sky Set, Hojicha Pudding, and Matcha Chocolate Fondue.

While waiting for the ordered items, I interviewed Junpei Morita, the president of MORITA SEICHA and the manager of Chanome. He looked younger, so I didn’t realize how old he was. His bright smile was also impressive to me.


Junpei Morita “I entered the tea industry when I was about 20 years old. At that time, I moved to Kagoshima to receive training for three years. For tea training, those from Shizuoka go to Kagoshima, and vice versa. This industry has such a convention. I got trained more than 15 years ago.”

— “I see, Kagoshima is also a well-known region of Japanese tea. Kagoshima interacts with Shizuoka in this way. I’ve heard the tea industry is tough, but how do you feel?”

Junpei Morita “We suffered the reputational damage relating to the nuclear power plant. That was the hardest time. Once guests grew apart from us, they never came back to us.”

— “I see, the nuclear power plant in Fukushima affected your reputation. The farmers in Shizuoka suffered from the issue severely, didn’t they? I heard the harmful rumors have disappeared currently. However, do you feel individuals are less interested in Japanese loose leaf tea?”

Junpei Morita “Unfortunately, fewer people have kyusu today. To spread tea as much as possible, we teach how to brew Japanese tea using kyusu in class. We organize Shizuoka Chagyo Seinendan, an association gathering the young successors from 20s to 45 years old of the tea industry to promote tea using kyusu. I believe people can communicate with each other and spice up the conversation by using kyusu by themselves.”

— “I heard Chanome is very close to the house where Shoichi Kokushi, who introduced tea to Japan, was born.”

Junpei Morita “Shoichi Kokushi introduced Shizuoka tea to Japan. In front of his house, a tea farm was abandoned. We transplanted and reactivated tea plants, consuming about four years.”

— “Four years !?”

At the harvest season, more than 50 farmers gather and pick each leaf by hand. Although we can only pick about 30 kg of leaves yearly, we won the Grand Gold Medal at the World Green Tea Contest. We got the award for the third straight year from 2014. Here is the awarded Legend Set and Sky Set of Chanome, haha.”

Sky Set and Hojicha Pudding came to me at the same time.

天空セット

A small sandglass was also here. The clerk kindly explained the details of the tea, brewing time and methods, and precautions.

Junpei Morita “It’s not straightforward to brew delicious tea. Our tea got the Grand Gold Medal, so we would like guests to properly brew and have it. That’s why we decided to offer the tea in the cafe.”

Next, Matcha Chocolate Fondue.

抹茶チョコフォンデュ

Junpei Morita “In 2019, the climate delayed the harvest season. The harvest amount of tea leaves is decreasing every year. Last year, the amount of loose leaf tea in plastic bottles finally exceeded that in kyusu. The tea farmers are aging. Most of them are over 65 years old. Shizuoka has many tea farms on slopes, so they must be hard as they often work in such spots.”

— “That’s a shame. Japanese tea is excluded from a drink worth taking lots of time and effort like black tea and coffee. If people knew the true taste and charm of Japanese tea and still didn’t drink it, nothing we could do. However, everyone doesn’t know the true taste because they exclude Japanese tea in the first place.”

Junpei Morita “Chanome devises the main seasonal item. For summer, we recommend Matcha Shaved Ice. This contains tea leaves and Matcha in ice, unlike ordinary shaved ice. The unique ice is shaved. To get this item, many guests stood in the line in summer. In winter, fewer guests visit us. Then, we decided to create a main winter item that never loses to the shaved ice, in which Yakiimo Parfait was created. My wife’s family is a farmer of Yakiimo, roasted sweet potato, in Kagoshima, so we receive their potato.”
(He was talking very cheerfully)

Yakiimo Parfait sent from the sweet potato farmer in Kagoshima directly.

やきいもパフェ

Suikinkutsu echoing quietly in the cafe.

Junpei Morita “Under this spot, there is a 1.5-meter hole with a 60-cm bottle is placed upside down. Let’s run the water. Listen, beautiful sound is coming here. You may not hear the sound due to the sound of cars running in front of the cafe, but how is it? (the manager is running water)”

When I listen carefully, I heard the beautiful and quiet sound. The mystical sound calmed me down.

A reactivated tea farm with 4-year efforts of MORITA SEICHA, which is in front of the birthplace of Shoichi Kokushi.

MORITA SEICHA reactivated the abandoned tea farm. Moreover, they won the Grand Gold Medal for tea leaves harvested from that farm. I wonder if it’s the benefit of Shoichi Kokushi or the skills and passion of the creators. Why don’t you visit Chanome to experience their wonderful tea with history and mystery?

Thank you for reading the report of Chanome by our chief editor.

 

Chanome

Address  1827, Ohara, Aoi-ku, Shizuoka City, 421-1314, Japan
Website https://ameblo.jp/oharachanome/

https://www.facebook.com/茶の芽-581898025311737/

Phone number +81 54-270-1313
E-money and credit cards Available
Open 10:00 to 17:00
Closed Mondays and the 4th Tuesdays
Parking lot Available (4 cars)
Access In front of Warashina City Mountain Village Interchange Center Warabiko
Nearby Youchijima Bus Stop of Shizutetsu Bus Warashina LineAbout 30-minute drive via National Route 362 from Shizuoka City area toward Warashina

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