Japan’s Oldest Coffee Farm In Chichijima Island

Japanese coffee farmer at Chichijima Island. The first coffee farm in Japan.
Photo courtesy to The Japan Times

Japan has a rich history not just in fashion, industry, and people, but like Brazil and Vietnam, Japan has a rich culture in their coffee.

The Japanese iced coffee is what Japan is famous because of the different technique on how they make this refreshing beverage. Not only that but Japan has a rich culture in cultivating their coffee.

One of Ogasawara Island, Chichijima is known as the first place in Japan to grow coffee has become a historic place in Japans coffee cultivation. Until today the coffee history is preserved in that place because of the passion of the father and daughter that maintained the practice that ceased during World War II when all the islanders were forced to evacuate.

Motomi Nose, 49, and her father, Akio, 83, are cultivating 1,200 coffee trees, each roughly 2 meters tall, at their farm, Nose’s FarmGarden, located in the mountains of Chichijima.

During the Meiji Era (1868-1912), the forefathers of Nose family migrated to Chichigima and begun planting coffee trees. Coffee cultivation in the Ogasawaras was dated back early in 1878, which makes the islands the first in Japan to grow coffee.

During the time the island was under the U.S control after the war the coffee farm had been abandoned for a long time, but despite the situation, some coffee trees manage to survive, allowing the family to revive the farm and continue its history until today— the 50th anniversary of the reversion of the Ogasawara island chain. Fruit can be seen on some of the trees, with some of it beginning to turn red. “Coffee trees are scattered everywhere, so I take care of them little by little every day,” Motomi said.

In 1944, the settlers in Osagawara was forced to move out on the Island due to the war. During that time Akio was ten years old, moved to the Kanto region.

In 1968, after the war, the Island was returned to Japan and, the Islanders including Akio returned to Chichijima. By then Akio and his family start plowing the fields, and Akio ran across coffee trees that had grown wild and began cultivating them. “I think (the coffee trees) had been waiting for their master to return,” said Motomi,–Motomi grew up on the mainland and move at Chichijima at the age of 29 to help her father at the farm.

Nose’s FarmGarden only has a limited crop of coffee, about 200 kilograms of coffee beans are harvested each year, enough to supply several cafes around Tokyo and Yokohama. Nose’s coffee has developed a reputation for its mild taste. Visitors can visit Chichijima Island and experience harvesting and drink coffee.

According to the All Japan Coffee Association, coffee is mainly produced in Africa and Central and South America. Areas situated between latitudes 25 degrees north and south of the Equator are called the Coffee Belt, deemed ideal for cultivating coffee. In Japan, coffee is cultivated in the Ogasawara island chain and the prefectures of Nagasaki, Miyazaki, Kagoshima, and Okinawa.

“I have a mission to continue growing coffee inherited from my forefathers, and to pass it on to the people who cherish the history of the island,” Motomi said.

Source The Japan Times