The World Is a Tea Party Presents: Your Guide to Japanese Tea Plants – T, U, Y, Z

We don’t consider this guide complete but rather a work in progress.
Please feel free to submit additions and changes to us.
We will add them in and credit you at the point of edit.


Return to main tea plants page     Guide to Japanese Teas


  Tadanishiki or Tadanisiki (ただにしき)
Old Name: 静4008
Genotype: Pl1Pl1      (resistant to gray blight)
Cultivar Type: hybrid
Oxidation: Good Ability
History: Assamica seedling selection (アッサム実生選抜)
  Takachiho (たかちほ)
Name meaning: named after Takachiho (高千穂) town in Miyazaki Prefecture
Old Name: 宮崎9号
Used for: kamairicha (pan-fried teas), also proven to be very suitable for the production of this lightly oxidized Japanese oolong tea
Genotype: Pl1pl1Pl2Pl2      (resistant to gray blight)
Varietal: sinensis
Cultivar Type: Japanese
Oxidation: Medium Ability
Prefectures: Miyazaki (宮崎県) and Kagoshima (鹿児島県)
Liquid: Golden colored
Flavor: pleasant aftertaste and little astringency
Registered: 1953, #11
History: Conventional selection (在来選抜)
Developed: Selected out of seedlings from a native tea plant at the Miyazaki Agricultural Research Institute, and later on it became tea cultivar number 11.
Features:
  • Not a popular cultivar, but still cultivated
  • Characteristics of Takachiho
  • A good cultivar for the kamairi (pan-fried) process must have thicker leaves that take on a good taste and aroma when roasted and keep their form after being rolled so they look curly
  • Leaves are a little less elliptically shaped than Yabukita (やぶきた) and slightly smaller
  • Normal budding cultivar and therefore harvested at about the same time as Yabukita
  • Excellent resistance to cold weather and disease and a good yield at harvest
  Takanewase (たかねわせ)
Old Name: たかねわせ
Registered: 1985
History: Yabukita seedling selection (やぶきた実生選抜)
  Tamamidori (たまみどり)
Old Name: 国茶U17号
Used for: tamaryokucha, sencha
Genotype: Pl1pl1Pl2Pl2      (resistant to gray blight)
Varietal: sinensis
Cultivar Type: Japanese
Oxidation: Good Ability
Registered: 1956, #4
History: Ujishu seedling selection (宇治種実生選抜)
Features:
  • The first cultivar developed for making Tamaryokucha
  • Although it is still being cultivated, it isn’t widely available
  • Some Japanese stores sell teas made from this cultivar online
  • Normal budding, resistant to cold, good yield, susceptible to some tea plant diseases, leaves are elliptical and greenish-yellow
Photo: tamamidori

(photo is black-and-white and only one available)

  Toyoka (とよか)
Old Name: 23-114
Used for: sencha
Genotype: pl1pl1pl2pl2      (susceptible to gray blight)
Prefecture: Saitama (埼玉県)
Registered: 1976, #33
Hybrid of: Sayamamidori (さやまみどり)
and
Yabukita (やぶきた)
Photo:  toyoka
  Tsukasamidori (司みどり)
Old Name: 司みどり
Registered: 1984
History: Shizuoka conventional selection (静岡在来選抜)
  Tsuyuhikari (つゆひかり)
Used for: Green tea
Prefecture: Shizuoka (静岡県)
Liquid: Little deposits in liquid, bright green color.
Flavor: Refreshing aroma, mild taste.
Registered: 2001
Hybrid of: Shizu 7132 (or Sizu 7132) cultivar
and
Asatsuyu (あさつゆ) cultivar
Developed: in 1970 by the Shizuoka Tea Experiment Station from seedlings derived from the cross of ‘Shizu7132’ (Sizu 7132?) and Asatsuyu (あさつゆ)
Features:
  • Easy to cultivate, highly resistant to anthracnose and blister blight, tolerant of cold. Rooting of cutting is slow but shows good growth once roots are established
  • Early budding, medium shape, fairly vigorous growth habit
  • Develops an intermediate branching pattern, skiff and prune to increase bud number
  • Harvested a few days before Yabukita (やぶきた)
  • High yields if pruned properly
  • Young leaf has slightly long elliptic shape, light green color, medium size
  • Fairly resistant to tea anthracnose (Colletotrichum theae-sinensis (Miyake) Yamamoto) and cold damage
Photo: tsuyuhikari

(photo only available in black-and-white)

  Ujihikari (うじひかり)
Old Name: 京研170号
Registered: 1954
History: Kyoto conventional selection (京都在来選抜)
  Ujimidori (うじみどり)
Old Name: 京研307号
Registered: 1983
History: Ujishu seedling selection (宇治種実生選抜)
  Unkai – A15 (うんかい)
Name meaning: “sea of clouds”
Old Name: A15
Used for: kamairicha (high quality)
Genotype: Pl1pl1Pl2Pl2      (resistant to gray blight)
Prefecture: Miyazaki (宮崎県)
Flavor: not bitter
Aroma: characteristic
Registered: 1970, #29
Hybrid of: Takachiho (たかちほ) cultivar
and
MiyaF1-9-4-48 (宮F1-9-4-48) assamica cultivar
Developed: by the Miyazaki Agricultural Research Institute
Features:
  • Big leaves, elliptical shape, dark green color
  • Very resistant to cold weather and diseases
  • Good yield
  • Can be harvested about the same time as Yabukita (やぶきた)
  • Grown in small amounts
Photo:  unkai-a15
  Unryu-cha (うんりゅちゃ)
Genotype: pl1pl1Pl2pl2      (moderately resistant to gray blight)
  Yabukita (やぶきた)
Name meaning: “Yabu” (bamboo bush grove) + “Kita” (north)
Old Name: 薮北
Used for: sencha
Percent grown: 75% (31,905 hectares)
Genotype: pl1pl1pl2pl2      (susceptible to gray blight)
Varietal: sinensis
Cultivar Type: Japanese
Oxidation: Poor Ability
Prefectures: Percent of all tea plants grown:
95.6% – Shizuoka (静岡県)
84.0% – Mie (三重県)
77.0% – Fukuoka (福岡県)
72.0% – Saitama (埼玉県)
62.0% – Kyoto (京都府)
40.0% – Kagoshima (鹿児島県)
77.0% – Japan overall
Flavor: strong sweet/salty combo
Aroma: strong
Registered: 1953, #6
History: Shizuoka pre-existing seedlings selection (静岡在来実生選抜)
Developed: by research Hikosaburo Sugiyama at Shizuoka Prefectural Tea Industry Laboratory
Features:
  • Leading cultivar, high quality, mid yield, cultivated
  • Only 2 years after registration Yabukita was determined as a variety of choice for the Shizuoka Prefecture; it solved a major problem: frost damage
  • Very good quality leaf (strong aroma and a good flavor), adapts well to various climates and soils, high yield, frost resistant, susceptible to fungal diseases
Photo:  yabukita
  Yaeho (Yayeho, やえほ)
Old Name: 八重穂
Used for: sencha
Genotype: Pl1pl1Pl2Pl2      (resistant to gray blight)
Varietal: sinensis
Cultivar Type: Japanese
Oxidation: Very Poor Ability
Prefecture: Shizuoka (静岡県)
Registered: 1954, #17
History: Shizouka conventional selection (静岡在来選抜)
Photo:  yaeho
  Yamacha (aka Zairai, 山茶)
Name meaning: mountain tea
Cultivar Type: Not a cultivar
Features:
  • Wild tea plants throughout southwestern Japan
  • Whether it is indigenous or not is a big question as yet unanswered
  • Buddhists in the Nara and Heian periods engaged in cultural exchanges between Japan and China
  • No written record shows this plant being brought to Japan from China during that time
  • However, some think this plant pre-dates those periods and was brought over earlier, thus having no written record of it
  • ·Definitely many of the tea plants are quite old, and records show that they have been grown in Japan for centuries
  • The leaves are not uniform in size and shape and so seem to be more wild or natural growing
  • It has clearly been cultivated, though, since most plants are found within 2km of human settlements and farms
  • A study in 2002 did a DNA analysis, showing that this plant very likely had a common ancestor with many Japanese cultivars
Photo:  yamacha
  Yamakai (やまかい)
Old Name: 静7166
Genotype: pl1pl1Pl2pl2      (moderately resistant to gray blight)
Registered: 1967
History: Yabukita seedling selection (やぶきた実生選抜)
Features:
  • Profile is on opposite of Sôfû, which has a sophistication and lighter character
  • The cultivar was once popular for shaded teas such as gyokuro, but is now out of favor
  • It is a bit difficult to grow with overly thick stems, and the steeped liquid has an oily aroma that is not well liked among tea drinkers
  Yamanami (やまなみ)
Old Name: Ch5342
Used for: kamairicha
Genotype: Pl1pl1Pl2Pl2      (resistant to gray blight)
Varietal: sinensis
Cultivar Type: Chinese
Oxidation: Poor Ability
Prefecture: Miyazaki (宮崎県)
Registered: 1965, #27
Developed: Selected from Chinese tea seedlings
  Yamanoibuki (やまのいぶき)
Old Name: 中川根5
History: Yabukita seedling selection (やぶきた実生選抜)
  Yamatomidori (やまとみどり)
Name meaning: Japan green tea

‘Yamato’ is the ancient name for Japan.

Old Name: 奈良59号
Used for: sencha
Genotype: Pl1pl1pl1pl2      (resistant to gray blight)
Varietal: sinensis
Cultivar Type: Japanese
Oxidation: Poor Ability
Prefecture: Nara (奈良県)
Registered: 1953, #10
History: Nara pre-existing seedling selection (奈良在来実生選抜)
Features:
  • As old as Yabukita (やぶきた)
  • Makes a good quality tea
  • Late-budding, strong resistance to cold weather
  • Leaves are elongated, elliptical, about medium size, and dark green color
  • Harvested 10 days later than Yabukita
  • Yield not too good, largely replaced by newer cultivars
  • Only a few tea fields in Nara prefecture cultivate it
Photo:  yamatomidori
  Yumekaori (ゆめかおり)
Old Name: Cha Norin No. 54
Used for: sencha
Prefecture: Miyazaki (宮崎県)
Flavor: body, freshness
Registered: 2006, #54
Hybrid of: Sayamakaori and Miyazaki No. 8 (Miyazaki-8gou)
Developed: at the Tea Branch Facility, Miyazaki Agricultural Research Institute
Features:
  • First cultivar in Japan bred for resistance to Pseudaulacaspis pentagona (Targioni-Tozetti)
  • Early budding, harvest 4 days earlier than Yabukita (やぶきた), vigorous growth, intermediate plant shape. Slightly susceptible to tea anthracnose (Colletotrichum theaesinensis (Miyake) Yamamoto) and tea blister blight (Exobasidium vexans Massee); fairly resistant to tea gray blight (Pestalotiopsis longiseta Spe-gazzini); more resistant to P penta-gona than Sayamakaori
  • Fairly resistant to cold damage in mid-winter and bark split frost injury in early winter
  • Yield higher than Yabukita
Photo:  yumekaori
  Yumewakaba (ゆめわかば)
Name meaning: dream young leaf
Used for: sencha
Prefecture: Saitama (埼玉県)
Liquid: About same as from Yabukita
Flavor: About same as from Yabukita
Aroma: Slight withering creates aroma similar to osmanthus not in other cultivars.
Registered: 2006, #53
Hybrid of: Yabukita (やぶきた) cultivar and Saitama #9 (埼玉9号)
Developed: In 1968, the Yabukita cultivar was crossed with a tea plant called Saitama #9, selected from seedlings born naturally out of Yabukita seeds.
Features:
  • Yield and picking time about same as Yabukita
  • About the same resistance to cold weather, strong resistance to anthracnose, very weak against the mulberry scale
Photo:  yumewakaba
  Yutakamidori (ゆたかみどり)
Name meaning: Green tea from Yutaka
Used for: gyokuro (longer steaming recommended during first processing step)
Percent grown: 6%
Genotype: pl1pl1Pl2pl2      (moderately resistant to gray blight)
Varietal: sinensis
Cultivar Type: Japanese
Oxidation: Medium Ability
Prefectures: Kagoshima (鹿児島県) and Miyazaki (宮崎県)
Flavor: brisk and invigorating
Aroma: special flowery
Registered: 1966 in Kagoshima
History: Selected from a population of Asatsuyu (あさつゆ) (gyokuro flavor) seedlings
Developed: National Institute of Vegetable and Tea Science in Kanaya, Kagoshima Prefecture.
Features:
  • Second most popular cultivar after Yabukita (やぶきた), widely grown (6,148 acres) mainly in Kagoshima and Miyazaki Prefectures
  • Harvest 5 days earlier than ‘Yabukita’
  • Good yield
  • High resistance to anthracnose
  • Shaded at 60% for a week prior to harvest – softens shoots, intensifies green color, reduces bitterness
  Z-1
Old Name: Z-1
Genotype: Pl1pl1Pl2Pl2      (resistant to gray blight)
Varietal: sinensis
Cultivar Type: Japanese
Oxidation: Medium Ability
History: Tamamidori seedling selection (たまみどり実生選抜)
  Zairai (aka Yamacha, 在来)
Name meaning: “native” (old tea tree of no identifiable cultivar)
Percent grown: 2%
Cultivar Type: Not a cultivar, but included as an important part of Japanese tea
Features:
  • Each tea tree has very different traits, grown from a seed instead of being cloned from a parent plant, known collectively as zairai
  • Many are very old and have grown tall into trees unless pruned by tea farmers
  • Yield about half of Yabukita (やぶきた), quite resistant to pests, very deep roots, higher mineral content
  • Leaves even from same zairai plant vary in flavor, aroma, shape, color, etc.
  • Rarely grown these days in favor of hardier and more consistent cultivars
Photo:  zairai-aka-yamacha

© 2016-2020 World Is a Tea Party photos and text

YOUR SPONSORED AD COULD BE HERE OR YOUR SPONSORED LINKS COULD BE APPEARING IN THIS ARTICLE. See here for more info.

Guest writers are welcome – just send us a private message in Facebook or Twitter.

Advertisements

FREE to you always!! Contributing well-researched information to the world's compendium of tea knowledge since 2009. Hundreds of articles about tea and more. No need to buy a book or pay for site access here!

%d bloggers like this: