The southernmost region where tea is produced is in Okinawa. This year, as with every year, Okinawa was the first to announce the harvest of shincha. In late March, Kunigami-son in Okinawa reported its first shincha harvest. Because of its small production, Okinawa is not included in the so called “shincha front”. This shincha front shows when shincha is harvested in each region. Okinawa, located in the southernmost part of Japan with its warm weather is the start of the shincha season. Then shincha front gradually moves north: to Kagoshima; Miyazaki and Shizuoka; Fukuoka, Mie, and Shizuoka; Kyoto and Saitama; and finally to Niigata, the northernmost region of tea production. But we must remember that even in the above mentioned prefecture if the tea field is located in a mountainous region, the harvesting period is likely to change due to the lower temperature in those regions.
The peak of shincha harvesting is from late April through early May, the season which is often referred to as the Golden Week (there are a number of national holidays in one week and many people use this time of year to take a long holiday, sometimes up to 9-10days depending on the year’s calender).
Just like the cherry blossoms, many Japanese tend to feel that the shincha season is the coming of spring as well as a warmer weather.