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November 2007 is Tea Month in Japan World "O-CHA" Tea Festival Tea Tours to Japan

New York, NY … October 1, 2007 – The third tri-annual World "O-CHA" or Tea Festival will take place November 1-4, 2007 in Shizuoka, Japan, and in conjunction with this fair, JTB, Japan's largest travel company, has organized a Tea Tour with Tea A Magazine. Also in November, after the conclusion of the O-CHA festival, the tea purveyor, In Pursuit of Tea will announce its spring 2008 tea tour.

JTB's Tea Tour will be accompanied by Ms. Pearl Dextor, tea authority and editor of Tea A Magazine, the first consumer magazine all about tea. The trip departs the USA for Narita on October 31 and returns on November 9.  Tour highlights include admission to the World O-CHA Festival and participation in one of the festival's special tea auctions, as well as visits to: tea factories, a tea museum, a tea garden and a teaware manufacturer.  You'll also enjoy a private Tea Dinner sponsored by a local tea company, where teas and local cuisine will be paired like food with wine The air inclusive price (plus tax and fuel surcharge) from Los Angeles for 8-nights first-class accommodations, ground transportation with guided sightseeing in Tokyo, Shizuoka, and Kyoto and daily breakfast, two lunches and two dinners, is just $3,300.

Coincidentally, Sebastian Beckwith, co-founder of the tea purveyor In Pursuit of Tea (www.inpursuitoftea.com) and a former adventure tour guide in Asia, was so inspired by the O-CHA Festival, its accompanying tea tour, and his past tea inspection trips to Japan that he is now considering to lead a trip there himself! The details will be announced in November, and the tour will probably run in June 2008.  Mr. Beckwith most recently visited Japan's Shizuoka and Uji (in Kansai) tea-growing regions in June 2007.  Mr. Beckwith tells us that in Shizuoka he went up into some spectacular forested hills with small tea fields owned by a group of farmers who have been farming organically for about twenty years. "I hope to take travelers to visit these hard working people committed to producing Sencha green tea with a rich flavor that is grown in harmony with the natural environmental," he says.

Regarding the World O-CHA Festival, if you are interested in traveling there independently the festival's website provides transportation instructions at: http://www.o-cha2007.jp/english/visitors.html, and the Japan National Tourist Organization can help you plan your trip along with additional sightseeing in the area.

The festival offers cultural, industrial, and academic components of interest to a diverse audience devoted to enjoying and learning about tea.

The cultural programs are open to all.  On the main fair floor, in a festival street-stall-format, you can sample and purchase tea and traditional sweets from all over Japan and around the world. In another gallery, a tea book exhibit will showcase books about tea and authors and tea experts will discuss tea's transition from past to present. "When did tea drinking first begin and where did it come from?  How did it develop and spread? How did green tea become the drink closest to the heart of Japanese culture?"  In another wing, sample tea rooms created by some of Japan's up-and-coming interior designers, propose comfortable and contemporary "tea appreciation settings," settings that you can enjoy at the show and even consider for your own home or office.

In select areas throughout the fair traditional tea ceremonies and new-style tea parties will be on-going, and the organizers hope to answer even modern cultural questions about Japanese tea: "Why do Japanese like O-CHA?  How and why do Japanese choose their favorite tea serving implements? Is it shape, color, design, season or jut feeling?"

For the tea industry the festival offers even more:
*A World O-CHA Trade Fair with one-on-one tea-related business meetings;
*An International Tea Conference, which will go as far as to address the international definition of green tea, and
*An international Green Tea Competition, where tea experts will choose the best tea from over 100 entries from around the world.

According to the organizers, the purpose of the festival is multi-dimensional:
*To create an international "tea culture" through global participation
*To share the latest and most comprehensive tea information in the areas of manufacturing, culture, health and science
*To ultimately, introduce Japanese green tea – specifically from the Shizuoka tea belt -- to the worldwide marketplace, expand its international demand, and initiate a drive within Japan's tea industry to sell its products on a global scale.
Tea is popular the world over as a beverage, a communication vehicle, and a product which supplies contentment and relaxation. In recent years, tea has been determined to offer a variety of health benefits, and has been re-evaluated as a beverage a healthy life-style. 

Hopefully, through tea tours and this fun and educational festival, the words "O-CHA" will become universal and synonymous with TEA.
The World O-CHA festival is being held at "Granship," the Shizuoka Convention & Art Center, near Higashi Shizuoka Station, just an hour from either Tokyo or Nagoya by Japan Rail Hikari Shinkansen bullet train.

The World O-CHA festival 2007 (http://www.o-cha2007.jp/english/) has been organized under the joint auspices of the World Green Tea Association (http://www.o-cha.net/english/index.html) with the sponsorship of Japan's Ministries of: Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries; Economy and Industry, and Foreign Affairs, as well as .concerned prefectures, embassies, the tea industry, and media companies.

For JTB's Tea Tour details go to: http://www.jtb4asia.com/SpecialTourPackages/tea_tour.asp; for information on Pearl Dextor and Tea A Magazine visit: http://www.teamag.com/, and for questions about the tea regions of Japan and traveling there, visit the Japan National Tourist Organization online at: http://www.japantravelinfo.com

The Japan National Tourist Organization, the tourism promotion board for the country of Japan, is a key member of the Visit Japan Campaign, a public-private partnership under the Japan's Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport, with the mission to encourage and promote international travel to Japan and support Japanese travel suppliers. JNTO is the main representative for the Visit Japan Campaign abroad.

Contact Information
Japan National Tourist Organization
Attn: Marian Goldberg
Tel: 212-757-5641 x16
Email: mgoldberg@jntonyc.org

Information is provided as a courtesy to users of this website. Though the JNTO endeavors to ensure the information is accurate, users of the information are to act on such using their own judgement and at their own risk. Neither the JNTO nor any holder of copyright to the information shall be held responsible in any way whatsoever for any loss or misunderstanding, either direct or indirect, that is incurred as a result of utilizing the information.


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