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

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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.
  • 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)
  • 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)
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
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)
  • 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
MiyaF1-9-4-48 (宮F1-9-4-48) assamica cultivar
Developed: by the Miyazaki Agricultural Research Institute
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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)
  • 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)
  • 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
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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
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
  • 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

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