About us

We wish you a very warm welcome to Nagasaki Ikedoki Tea!

Our mission is to spread the appreciation for Japanese tea by connecting tea lovers to the place where tea is grown and produced.

We believe that once you see where tea is grown, understand how tea is produced and learn about the traditions and history, your connection to Japanese tea will deepen and your love for tea will grow. 

Tea has played an integral part in Japanese culture for many generations. The isolation of Japan to the rest of the world for over two centuries, from ~1639-1853, led them to develop and refine their own processing technique and flavour profile, different from other tea regions in the world.

Mesmerising view of Omura Bay from the tea fields

We feel the tea region of Higashi-Sonogi, located in the north of Nagasaki Prefecture, has a wealth of tea flavours to share with the world. The beautiful location of Higashi-Sonogi, just over an hour’s train ride from Nagasaki city, is an enchanting place worth visiting on its own: the town lies beside a quiet ocean bay with hills directly rising behind, up to over 400 metres, covered in tea fields, forests and rice fields.

The Higashi-Sonogi region is specialised in producing tamaryokucha, a steamed curly green tea, not often seen outside Japan.

As a traveller, it is difficult to come into contact with tea farmers and producers by yourself, as most farms are private and not open to the public. With the added barrier of a different language, as most farmers only speak Japanese, it is currently still hard to communicate directly with and learn from tea farmers.

We believe it would be a shame not to share the beauty of Higashi-Sonogi with the outside world, and want to heartily welcome you to come sit down with us for a cup of delicious local tea.

We at  Nagasaki Ikedoki Tea act as a bridge: connecting you, the tea drinker, to the tea fields. We want to take you through the process of how fresh tea leaves end up in your cup, and take you on a journey through your senses by tasting the different flavours that tea from Nagasaki has to offer.

Ikedoki means ‘tea break’ in the Nagasaki dialect.

To us, this perfectly embodies our vision: to create an open, friendly setting where we can share with you a cup of tea, and the passion and skill hidden behind that tea, hoping to give you a deeper understanding and inspire a great(er) love of Japanese tea.

Our team at Ikedoki Tea is:

Shoji Iizuka
Shoji was born in Chiba, close to Tokyo. He spent over 10 years working in the vicinity of Tokyo, designing product catalogues for a publishing company. Slowly his desire to get out of city life grew stronger, until a few years ago he decided he wanted to move to the countryside. He discovered the little paradise of Higashi-Sonogi and decided to settle down here with his family.

Shoji works for the local tourism association, promoting the beauty and treasures of this town. He is the coordinator of the Green Tea homestay programme, and has plunged deeper into the world of Japanese tea by obtaining the Nihoncha advisor certificate.

Yasuharu Matsumoto,  ‘Matsu’
Matsu, a pioneer of tea tourism in Japan and a creative visionary, has worked more than 16 years with tea. He has worked tirelessly to promote Japanese tea to the overseas market, travelling the world to give workshops on Japanese teas. Matsu is a certified Nihoncha instructor and is also a co-founder of the Global Japanese Tea Association.

His vision is to open at least 7 tea tour experience locations spread all over the tea-producing regions of Japan, each highlighting regional specialties.

Satoshi Hokugo
Satoshi was born in Nagasaki city, but moved to Tokyo after school. He had a diverse career there for over 10 years: working in retail, as an energetic tourist guide pulling the iconic jinrikisha (human-powered rickshaw), and finally learning the trade of shoemaking to work as shoemaker. After more than a decade in Tokyo, he decided he wanted to return to his roots in Nagasaki and has settled down in Higashi-Sonogi, eager to promote the town and local specialties.

Marjolein Raijmakers
Marjolein found herself fully in love with tea before she realised it had begun. After following tea sommelier courses in both the Netherlands (where she is from) and the UK, she dedicated 7 months to travelling and working for tea in Japan & South Korea in 2018. During these travels she visited Higashi-Sonogi and was enchanted by the surroundings and the hospitality she found there. After chasing her thirst for tea through tea fields in China, Scotland and Sri Lanka in 2019, she is excited to return to Higashi-Sonogi and dig her tea roots deeper in the soils here.