Outline of Research

Project Title

142f0:Development of new cultivars and a sustainable production system for tea

Project Leader

Takuya Araki


For tea, teas with multiple pest resistance, diverse flavor, and novel functional tannins are the major breeding targets.

Using a precision fertilizer applicator and other technologies, a low cost, labor-saving tea production system based on riding type machinery will be developed.


A new, semi-early budding green tea cultivar, Saeakari, resistant to anthracnose and gray blight


The green tea cultivar Yabukita is grown in about 75% of all tea fields in Japan. Monoculture of ‘Yabukita’ has resulted in severe disease problems such as anthracnose and gray blight outbreaks. In addition, most ‘Yabukita’ trees are getting old and the yield and quality of the green tea ‘Yabukita’ are therefore gradually degrading. To solve these problems, we bred a new green tea cultivar, Saeakari, which could substitute for ‘Yabukita’.


‘Saeakari’ was developed in 1989 by crossing seedlings of ‘Z1’ (vigorous growth, gray blight resistance) and ‘Saemidori’ (high quality, early budding). It was registered by MAFF as Cha Norin No. 55 on March 28, 2011. ‘Saeakari’ is a semi-early budding cultivar that is high-yielding, excellent in quality, and resistant to anthracnose and gray blight. It is superior to the major green tea cultivar Yabukita in terms of disease resistance, yield and, prepared tea quality. ‘Saeakari’ is thus expected to replace ‘Yabukita’.

Fig.1 Breeding history (A), tea hedge at the first crop (B), new shoots of the first crop (C), and water-color of green tea (D) of ‘Saeakari’.Table 1 Comparison of varietal characteristic among green tea cultivars ‘Saeakari’, ‘Saemidori’ and ‘Yabukita’ at Makurazaki Tea Research Station