If you’ve ever visited Japan, then chances are you have enjoyed a Kirin beverage. Whether you ordered an ice cold beer or grabbed a bottle of tea out of a train station vending machine, it was mostly likely manufactured by the Kirin company. Well I recently had the opportunity to take a tour of the Kirin Tea Factory and now I’m here to…spill the tea! 😉
When we first arrived, we were greeted near the parking lot, given a visitor’s badge, and escorted to the entrance of the facility. Everyone was super cheerful and made us feel like V.I.P. 🙂
Then we were taken to a classroom where we could take some fun photos with the tea props while we waited for the whole tour group to arrive.
Once everyone arrived, the facilitator showed us a short video about the Kirin Tea Factory and explained what to expect on the tour. Then they took our photos (I’ll explain why later) and we had to walk through a sanitation machine that sprayed us with sanitized air.
We were then taken to a room where we learned about the history of the Kirin tea leaves and saw how the plastic bottles were made. The kids really enjoyed watching the bottles getting heated up and shrunk down to size.
We entered a last room where they demonstrated how the label stamping machine worked. We could use our brochures to slide it through a device that stamped the date. This was much harder than it looked as you had to slide the paper through at just the right time – not too fast or too slow – or else the date would not be centered.
Overall, I really enjoyed this factory tour! It was very inexpensive, free parking, warm staff, kid friendly, and just a fun way to spend a couple of hours learning more about Japanese culture. One thing to note is that the employees speak pretty limited English and will only facilitate group tours if it is hosted by someone who speaks both Japanese and English for translation purposes.
And in true Japanese fashion, there was a souvenir vending machine. I opted for the adorable tea spoon! 🙂
Have you tried a Kirin drink before? Which one is your favorite?