The Sugimoto family has lived in Matsuzaka City, Mie Prefecture, for over 400 years, and in 1887 they established a tea production company called Roshoen, and soon after they founded their tea store Hosuien. Kentarou was a second generation family member and he jumped right into tea-leaf farming, which as a result of his firm consistent leadership in regards to everything from soil improvement and cultivation to tea leaf picking, led to an improvement in the quality of tea leaves in Mie prefecture. His achievements were recognized by the government and he was conferred with the 4th class, Gold Rays with Rosette Order of the Sacred Treasure and awarded the Medal with Yellow Ribbon (outstanding service). In 1971 their Imperial Majesties (T. I. H.) the Emperor and Empress visited Ise Grand Shrine, and as they were presented with this prized tea, the tea brand became increasingly well known. They received a letter of appreciation for formally presenting them with the tea, and as a recognized purveyor to the Imperial household they have continued to supply their tea every year. “During my grandfather’s time his habit of directly guiding tea producers was quite rare, but he was a man of tea leaves. Starting from the soil he encouraged the use of organic fertilizers in tea plantations, and to reduce as much as possible the amount of agricultural chemicals in the growing of tea. Usually, for making tea the first tea crop, second tea crop and third tea crop are used, but we only use first sprouted tea crop. That doesn’t mean everything ends with the harvest, we then pick and choose the best plants to be harvested next season, so in order to make delicious tea it takes both effort and thinking." They have a trusting relationship with the tea plantation owners, and are lucky to be able to draw water from the clear stream of Isuzu Gawa River which flows into Ise Grand Shrine . The source of Isuzu Gawa River is the Miya River, and in 2015, the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism recognized the Miya River as “having extremely high quality water,” and so as the water is drawn from this river for the tea plantations, the environment in which the tea trees grow is truly blessed.