Founder of Shirakaba Lab - Azusa Sugimoto
Shirakaba lab is located by a white birch tree in Hokkaido, the Northern island of Japan. A lab where local herbs are hand picked, dried and bunched together to form delicious herbal tea blends.
None of the farms use any pesticides. All colours are purely natural, no articficial colourings are needed to show the blossoms, the petals or the herbs in their true beauty.
The plantations are in Hokkaido and Shikoku. Places where Azusa Sugimoto, the founder and maker of unique organic herbal blends from the Northern island of Japan, Shirakaba lab. A passion turned into a brand for the love of the beauty of the flowers. This is her way of preserving and sharing a bit of Japan, in a cup of tea.
The fertile earth, the clean air and fresh water too, help these plants to grow in abundance. The Japanese rose called “Hamanasu” is resistant to the cold. A unique property that allows it to grow in Northern Japan, lending its sweet smell.
Azusa-san has a strong tie with the people tending to the herbs. The masters of herbs, as she calls them, pass on their knowledge to tend to the delicate botanics. They know how to dry each one of them, a technique of superior craftsmanship.
When Azusa-san came to Tokyo for a visit, we sat around my dining table, sipping tea, talking nature, gardens, herbs and tea. I admire people who follow their passion and share their knowledge. So here is her story on Shirakaba Lab for you.
Can you introduce yourself briefly?
I was a Web designer before. I like to pursue what I like.
Since I am vulnerable to caffeine I drink herbal tea.
I was interested in the tastes of the multitude of blends.
Herbal fragrances smelled different depending on their growing area, too.
I used to drink various herbal teas and decided to take a qualification on herbs. I started visiting the herb gardens to find my favourite ones. This marked the beginning of Shirakaba Lab, through the passion of herbs and herb gardens.I started selling my original blend herb teas online where it soon became my main occupation.
What do you love about herbal tea?
The plants can create ingredients that protect us, lending a sensation of wellbeing as well as being a great health support.
The power of nature is magical. I love the herb tea blends which hide such multiple possibilities in a cup.
I drink one cup of water in the morning and make myself a cup of herb tea right after.
I especially like to drink mint tea in the mornings because it is fresh for both, the head and the stomach.
Where are your favorite nature spots in Hokkaido?
I like Eastern Hokkaido. Sea of Okhotsk and the mountains. All this makes up for a scenic and typical Hokkaido view.
It is magnificent and is beautiful.