A few linkage maps of tea have been constructed using pseudo-testcross theory based on dominant marker systems. However, dominant markers are not suitable as landmark markers across a wide range of materials. Therefore, we developed co-dominant SSR markers from genomic DNA and ESTs and constructed a reference map using these co-dominant markers as landmarks. A population of 54 F(1) clones derived from reciprocal crosses between 'Sayamakaori' and 'Kana-Ck17' was used for the linkage analysis. Maps of both parents were constructed from the F(1) population that was taken for BC(1) population. The order of most of the dominant markers in the parental maps was consistent. We constructed a core map by merging the linkage data for markers that detected polymorphisms in both parents. The core map contains 15 linkage groups, which corresponds to the basic chromosome number of tea. The total length of the core map is 1218 cM. Here, we present the reference map as a central core map sandwiched between the parental maps for each linkage group; the combined maps contain 441 SSRs, 7 CAPS, 2 STS and 674 RAPDs. This newly constructed linkage map can be used as a basic reference linkage map of tea.