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Students and others choose new tea for themselves in Gifu

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Participants carefully pick new tea leaves in Higashi-Shirakawa, Gifu Prefecture on May 11.

HIGASHI-SHIRAKAWA, Gifu – About 90 participants, including students from Nagoya University of Arts and Sciences, picked the first tea leaves of the season on May 11 in an event that helps promote the local industry.

The group took part in hand-picking new tea leaves in Higashi-Shirakawa, Gifu Prefecture, an area known as the production center of Mino Shirakawa tea.

The Higashi-Shirakawa village government and the village’s tea industry promotion association signed a cooperation agreement with the university in Nisshin, Aichi Prefecture, in March to address regional issues.

The association organized the event and 14 students from the university worked alongside other participants for around seven hours, stopping for breaks and lunch along the way.

On May 11, the picking of tea leaves started. The participants carefully collected new tea leaves, each of which was about 5 centimeters long.

“I am always impressed by the beauty of the tea leaves and I enjoy interacting with the locals,” said Suzuha Watanabe, 20, a junior at the university who also participated last year.

“I would like to use this experience in my studies and help the tea industry grow.”

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