The Japan Tea Festival 2022: small but successful in ‘live’ return

The annual Japan Tea Festival, where tea producers and retailers can meet with tea lovers, was held in person in Asakusa, Tokyo on 29-30 October for the first time in three years. Due to Covid-19, the festival conducted online programs only in 2020 and 2021.

Following the gradual relaxation of pandemic restrictions in the country since April of this year, the 2022 Japan Tea Festival was prepared with the consideration of keeping the risk of infection low by reducing the number of exhibitors and limiting visitors to up to 500 at a time. Therefore, the festival was divided into four three-hour visitation periods over the two days. The total number of tickets this year was about 10% less than in previous events, but all were sold out. Consequently, a total of 2000 visitors enjoyed tasting green, black, oolong, spice or herb mixed teas, etc., during the ‘Tasting Rally’, the core program. Attendees had the opportunity to buy their favourite teas including some limited items offered especially for this occasion.

Previous Japan Tea Festivals offered short seminars, demonstrations and exhibitions. The 2022 event, however, held only the Tasting Rally. Forty-five exhibitors participated and more than one-third were tea producers in the country. “Concentrating on the tasting rally brought a positive effect for participants, the average sale increased from JPY 5000 in 2019 to JPY 6800 in 2022,” Takeshi Kawasaki, the organizer estimated, adding, “and the amount sold during the two-day event also grew from JPY 11 million in 2019 to JPY 13.5 million this year.”

According to the post-event survey for exhibitors, more than 40 of them showed their intention to return to the next festival [taking place in 2023]. — Yumi Nakatsugawa

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