Featured in “Oishii”, an English-language Japanese food magazine in Singapore

Miyazakien is featured in “Oishii”, an English-language Japanese food magazine in Singapore

We have obtained the consent to translate the article and post it on this site.

Eat and rest well in the Aichi Highlands – 愛知高原でよく食べて,よく休んで

After a detox holiday in the countryside here, Aichikogen-Okumikawa, you’ll return feeling refreshed and rejuvenated.

ここ,奥三河の愛知高原で休暇をすごせば,すばらしい休養となり,元気をもらえます。

Miyazakien Tea Garden and the Master , Atsushi UMEMURA
Miyazakien Tea Garden and the Master , Atsushi UMEMURA
Location map of Mikawa highlands in Aichi Prefecture in Japan
Location map of Mikawa highlands in Aichi Prefecture in Japan

Must-eats in Aichikogen-Okumikawa – あいち高原/奥三河で見逃せない食

Symbolic rice and miso come together as one in gohei-mochi; remember to try the region’s signature ayu fish too.

glazed gohei-mochi
glazed gohei-mochi

In Japanese cuisine, rice is more than a meal staple. Cultivated in Japan for 2,000 years, the grain also has much financial, historical and cultural significance. In the past, rice was used as a currency (or as tax money for farmers). Today, Japan’s most important crop isn’t only eaten during meals; it is used in a myriad products, from sakes to vinegars.

It’s no wonder that there’s the Otaue Matsuri or “rice field planting festival”. Celebrated in spring to mark the start of a new year, this sees the Japanese praying for a successful harvest. In some versions of the festival, seeds are planted in fields while in others, the planting process is acted out. Then, when autumn arrives, harvest festivals are held to give thanks, too.

Japanese rice, a short translucent grain that turns sticky when cooked, is grown in the country’s valleys, terraces and fields, with terraced rice plantations being one of the rarer sights. The Yotsuya Senmaida fields in Aichi Prefecture is famous for having more than 1,000 “steps” and produces the grains for some of the region’s signature rice cakes or gohei-mochi.

If you do visit Aichikogen-Okumikawa, have this as your main meal or as a snack. Resembling a big lollipop, this rice cake is grilled on a skewer and glazed with sesame or miso paste, or even topped with crushed walnuts. One of the traditional shops serving this is Matsuya, which has been around since 1935 and sells

grilled ayu fish skewers
grilled ayu fish skewers

300 gohei-mochi every day on weekends. Owner Yachie Maruyama pounds the rice by hand, uses a secret recipe for her miso paste and grills the cakes over a charcoal fire.

Miso paste is another example of a Japanese diet staple. Once reserved for nobles and monks, miso, which has health benefits like preventing gastric disorders and lowering blood pressure, is made from fermented soybeans. It is now most commonly used in soups that are best paired with steaming hot Japanese rice for a simple yet comforting meal, or on gohei-mochi as a sweet, robust seasoning.

Besides miso-paste gohei-mochi, Aichikogen-Okumikawa is known for the freshwater ayu fish, which can be eaten at restaurants like Chiyohimeso. A skewer is pierced into the fish mouth and through its body before it is cooked over charcoal. Although ayu fish can be stewed in soya sauce and sugar, the locals like it best grilled in its own deliciously briny oils. We can’t agree more. –>

Meet the Game Changers ゲームチェンジャーに会う

Atsushi Umemura, Miyazakien 宮ザキ園 梅村篤志

This dapper 39-year-old looks nothing like a traditional tea farmer. Not surprising since Umemura, the sixth-generation owner of the Miyazakien tea house that has been around since 1820, wants to modernise the art of tea drinking .

こちらの粋な39歳の男性,伝統的な茶農家のイメージとはかけ離れている。だが,それも当然だ。1820年ごろに創業した宮ザキ園の6代目園主,梅村氏は,茶芸の近代化を目指している。

Atsushi UMEMURA, Miyazakien 宮ザキ園 梅村篤志
Atsushi UMEMURA, Miyazakien 宮ザキ園 梅村篤志
How different is Miyazakien from other tea businesses in Japan? 宮ザキ園は日本国内の他の茶園とどのように違うのか。

We are unusual in how we see through the entire process, from processing the tea to selling the leaves wholesale and even serving tea on our premises. In 2006, we also became the first organic tea farm in Aichi Prefecture.

お茶の加工から茶葉の卸売販売,そして当園でお茶を飲んでいただく喫茶部門(「一匙(ひとさじ)」)の併設まで、私たちはお茶に関わる全過程で他とは違った珍しい取り組みをしています。私達は2006年に愛知県で最初の有機茶の認証農場となりました。

How do you attract new customers? どのように新しい顧客を開拓されていますか?

As a wholesaler, we usually supply our products to businesses elsewhere but I want people to come visit us directly instead. So, on the second level of our teahouse, we conduct experiential workshops like flower arrangement lessons.

お茶の供給業者としては一般的な,事業者様向けの茶の卸売販売もしていますが,最近は特に,当園を直接訪れてくださる方を大切にしたいと考えています。ですので,「一匙(ひとさじ)」の二階で,華道のレッスンのようなお茶の体験ワークショップを開催しています。

How else are you modernising your tea business? その他に変えてきた点は?

As a wholesaler, we can’t really change the style of our tea products too much. So, we try and serve tea in different new ways. For example, we sell houjicha flavoured shaved ice. This attracts long queues of customers, and we can sell about 100 bowls in a day. But with the shaved ice, we serve tea too, so customers can taste it and be encouraged to purchase our tea leaves. We also experiment with different ways of drinking tea: serving green tea in teacups with ice chips or in a wine decanter-inspired bottle and in wine glasses.

お茶の販売業者として,私達はお茶に必要以上に手を加えることをしたくありません。ですので,お茶を変えるのではなく,お茶に親しんでいただく方法を新たに提案しています。例えば,私どもはほうじ茶味のかき氷を販売しています。この商品は大変好評で,一日に百セットほど売れますが,かき氷を食べていただくことで,お客様に当園のお茶に接してもらう機会を作り出しています。かき氷を通じて当園のお茶の味を知ってもらい,茶葉をお買い求めいただくことにつながっています。他にも,お茶の飲み方でいろいろと試しています。例えば,緑茶を氷入りでお出ししたり,ワインデキャンターのようなボトルに詰めたお茶をワイングラスに注いで提供したりしています。

Miyazakien
8 Aino, Ishihara-cho, Okazaki City, Aichi 444-3601
Tel: 0564-83-2710

宮ザキ園
〒444-3601 愛知県岡崎市石原町相野
Tel:0564-83-2710

[Notice] We will open a temporal shop in a tea festival held on 18th Sepbember at Dai Nagoya Building

[Notice] We will open a temporal shop in tea festival held on 18th Sepbember at Dai Nagoya Building

On the coming 18th September (holiday), Miyazakien will open a temporal shop in a tea festival held in HDC Nagoya in the Dai Nagoya building in the Nagoya city Nagoya station area. The festa is held from the 16th to the 18th on the 10th-11th floor in the Dai Nagoya building, and there are tea seminars, sweets making, drinking comparison section etc. Admission, tasting in a drinking comparison section, etc. are free (some reservations priority).

The event is held in Housing Design Cente Nagoya (HDC Nagoya) on the 10th and 11th floor of Dai Nagoya Building.

It is an opportunity to enjoy ‘Wa Kocha’, the Japanese Black tea of Miyazakien and Sencha Tea etc. in Nagoya city. We welcome everyone.

Miyama Zakien 6th tea master,  Atsushi UMEMURA

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[Notice] The Japanese black tea “Wakocha” Whole Tour on 3rd SEP

We are proudly annoncing that “the Japanese black tea ‘Wa kocha’ whole tour” will be held on 3rd Septembre at Miyazakien. The tour is supported by Great Nagoya tours Executive Committee as “Great Nagoya Tours.”

On the tour, you can enjoy tea picking, drying and fermentation work of tea making, and also tea tasting, as well as soft tea cream using the Japanese black tea, Wakocha.

Do not miss the opportunity to touch Japanese tea and Japanese-born tea you need for living in Japan!

For details, please see the page of Great Nagoya Tours “Japanese tea ceremony” Tea ceremony whole “tour” on the committie web site.

Welcome Okazaemon at Miyazakien!

Okazaemon has come at Miyazakien! In this holiday, as part of the “Hidden Okazaki, Harvesting Experience Programme” in the “Okazaki Experience programme” , a nationwide lull character, Okazaemon came to our garden for the experience of the tea harvest of the Miyazakien.

201707オカザえもんが宮ザキ園に来園!
July, 2017, Okazaemon has come to Miyazakien!

It must be seriously hard work, the harvesting of tea leaves in tea fields in the heat of lightly exceeding 30 ℃ during the day. Miyazaki district in former Nukata town is the intermediate of mountains. The field also has a considerable slope, all people including staffs of us have to take care of the ridge even if we only move in the field, but Okazaemon who did silent work. Those who is inside, people concerned, thank you!

おかざきすぐれモノ体験隊ロゴThe “Okazaki Experience programme”  offers “real” which can only be experienced in Okazaki. In the “Hidden Okazaki, Harvesting Experience Programme”,  one of the expedition programme, you can enjoy harvest experience of tea and citrus grown without using agricultural chemicals, a processing experience such as making tea and making Yuzu citrus juice and Yuzu peppers.

In this time, a tea picking experience and a tasting workshop on the terrace newly set up in our tea plantation has held.

隠れ岡崎収穫体験初日。茶摘み体験と試飲ワークショップ。
隠れ岡崎収穫体験初日。茶摘み体験と試飲ワークショップ。

 

 

And participants also visited the yuzu field that we did not use pesticides. In this hidden Okazaki Harvest Experience Programme, the members of the events will be the owner of a Yuzu citrus tree, and they will have a citrus harvest experience and processing experience. For this time, we invite each participant to choose a yuzu tree for field

農薬を使わないで育てた柚子畑にご案内
農薬を使わないで育てた柚子畑にご案内

The programme will continue for a while this year. We would like to devise great ingenuity so that all participants can be satisfied.

Those who wish to participate in this "Hidden Okazaki, Harvest Experience" need to register for Okazaki Experience Programme. As the harvest time of agricultural products may be affected by the weather, please understand that the 2nd and 3rd holding date is uncertain.

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