Shizuoka is the heartland of Japan's green tea industry and the local authorities and companies are preparing to serve up a vast array of tea-related events at the fourth World O-Cha (Tea) Festival.

The four-day event will start on October 28 at the Shizuoka Convention and Arts Centre and is intended to celebration of everything and anything connected with tea as well as disseminating tea culture.

"Tea is something that is always by our side, a part of our lives," the executive committee of the event said in a statement. "As a drink and a source of relaxation, tea enriches our daily lives and people the world over feel an affinity towards tea."

Recent reseach into the beneficial properties of green tea has indicated that it can help prevent aging and obesity, as well as the onset of dementia. The people of Shizuoka Prefecture also have far lower incidences of many forms of cancer, which some have linked with the relatively high amounts of green tea that they consume.

The previous Shizuoka O-Cha Festival was held in November 2007 and attracted well over 100,000 tea-lovers from 26 countries. Other tea festivals are held in the Indian tea-growing district of Assam each November, in Seattle in early October and in the Korean city of Boseong, a major production area for green tea.

The Shizuoka festival will include exhibitions on tea culture from around the world, including a tasting area, as well as displays of tea utensils, machinery and confectionary that incorporates tea.

There will also be an international competition for the best-tasting green tea and another contest for the most impressive tea implements.

Visitors to the event will also be able to visit areas in Shizuoka Prefecture that are involved in the tea industry, visiting plantations to try their hand at picking tea leaves, visiting research institutes or taking part in a traditional tea ceremony at a temple or shrine.

World O-Cha (Tea) Festival

October 28-31

Location: The Shizuoka Convention and Arts Centre and other locations in the city.

Further information: The 4th World O-Cha (Tea) Festival Executive Committee. Tel. +81 54 202 1488.