This year’s first pick of first flush green tea in Shiga Prefecture is picked by Koga ninja!

Locals in ninja costumes handpicking first flush tea leaves (in Koga town, Shiga Prefecture)

Locals in ninja costumes handpicking first flush tea leaves (in Koga town, Shiga Prefecture)

SHIGA, Apr. 24 – On April 23, 2018, Shiga Prefecture celebrated its first harvest of the first flush spring green tea at GreenTea Tsuchiyama, a tea grower in Koga, the region known for traditionally producing high-quality tea leaves. To draw more attention to the tea leaves from Oumi region (a part of present Shiga Prefecture), the tea leaves were handpicked by the locals dressed in ninja costume. The temperature this year was low until the end of February, but the weather improved from the end of March. So, the tea shrubs grew well and is ready to offer high-quality products.

Koga is also known as a home of ninja, traditional Japanese espionage. So, the town decided to invite “ninja” to the event. There were approximately 30 tea pickers and they included city officials, GreenTea Tsuchiyama employees, and workers of a local agricultural cooperative, JA Koka. One of the city workers said, “It was a bit uncomfortable looking at myself in ninja costume, but I hope this will encourage more people to enjoy our fresh first picked green tea.”

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