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Photo Journal: Lucky leaves

Female employees from Iruma City Hall dressed as "tea girls" in kimono with deep red aprons and local residents pick lush green tea leaves from a plot owned by the city in Saitama Prefecture at a festival on May 2, 2017. The festival was held on the 88th day since the beginning of spring, known as "Hachiju Hachiya." Drinking tea picked on this day is said to increase longevity, so city workers and residents alike joined in the tea harvesting. Iruma and four other cities in the prefecture are stepping up promotions of their tea with the aim of being designated as important agricultural heritage systems by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries. Since the area's name means "shooting magic" in mythology, Iruma is advertising itself as the capital of green tea that will bring drinkers good luck. (Mainichi)

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