Anyone who knows me knows just how much I love trees.
I am a very tree lover.
There is just something mystical and magical about these beautiful Earthly creations.
So when I heard that there was a huge tea tree just a few hours away from where I now live in Japan I knew I had to go see it.
FUN FACT: This big tea tree is actually located in a city called 'Ureshino' [which translates to 'Happy City' in English].
A part of my mission on returning to Japan has been not only to learn more about the Japanese Tea Ceremony but also to explore the history and culture of tea in Japan.
So with my handy navigation system (i.e. Google Maps) as my guide I set out on my big tea tree adventure.
After driving for about 2 or 3 hours I eventually found a sign which confirmed that I was on the right track.
Or so I thought...
After turning back around 3 times because of navigational issues, with perseverance (i.e. stubbornness) and good old common sense I eventually arrived at another sign which confirmed that the Big Tea Tree was not too far ahead.
About the BIG TEA TREE:
Other names: Daichanoki; Daichaju; 大茶樹；ダイチャノキ
Age: over 360 years old
Height: 4.6 metres (15 feet)
Crown: 70 - 80 square metres
On October 20, 1926, this huge tree in Saga Prefecture was designated by the national government as a National Natural Monument/ Important Natural Property. It is a symbolic tree of the City of Ureshino. It is said to have been planted by Shinbei Yoshimura, the father of Ureshino tea, some time between the years 1648 to 1652.
ABOUT TEA AND URESHINO
“Tea production in Ureshino is said to have been started by the Chinese of the Ming dynasty who travelled to the region around 550 years ago. In the Sarayadani valley of Mount Fudo, where Chinese people are said to have settled, there are tea fields stretching as far as the eye can see.”
“Ureshino was visited by many people during the Edo Period as it served as a post station along the Nagasaki Kaido and a place of healing through hot spring bathing.”
Eventually, I found the big tea tree and I must say that it is by far the largest tea tree I have ever seen in my life.
In fact, the tree is so big that its branches have to be supported.
Before leaving, I also had to take a barrage of videos and photos
My Happy City adventure concluded with a relaxing visit to one of Ureshino's popular onsens and a chance visit to a mysterious hundred year old sakura tree under the Full Moon.
All in all I would say it was a day well spent.
The Big Tea Tree Lover