5 Recommended Tea Cafes in Tokyo
When you drink tea, you feel refreshed and warm, right? Here are some popular cafes in Tokyo where you can drink delicious tea.
Ippodo Chaho is a well-established teahouse in Kyoto that has been in business since 1717. They opened the Tokyo Marunouchi branch in 2010, and it's the only store outside of the main branch in Kyoto that faces a main street. They sell different types of Japanese teas like matcha, gyokuro green tea, and sencha green tea, and you can also get tea for take-out. The tearoom inside the store, Kaboku, is a place where you can enjoy tea that you brew yourself. Depending on the type of tea, the water temperature, amount of tea leaves, and brewing time changes, but the staff help by telling you how to brew delicious tea so even people brewing Japanese tea for the first time won't have any problems. All of their teas are served with wagashi (traditional Japanese sweet), so you'll want to enjoy the best tea you can brew as leisurely as possible.
Cha no Yu is about a 10 minute walk away from JR Kichijoji Station, and it has an open atmosphere surrounded by a verdant bamboo grove. Cha no Yu offers a wide variety of teas, including Japanese, Chinese, and herbal. Some particularly popular products are the Japanese black teas. Many of them are not very astringent and they have a slight sweetness and a mild taste, so they go well with both Japanese and Western sweets as well as meals. Inside there are chandeliers made with tea leaf motifs, sofas, and terrace seats. The placement and design of the seats were very carefully selected so that customers can spend a relaxing time there. This is a recommended cafe for people that want to leisurely enjoy teatime.
HIGASHIYA GINZA is a teahouse with about 40 seats that was made with the concept of a modern Japanese tea salon. You can enjoy tea and sweets of course, but also liquor and meals. Something that you should definitely try is the Samajiki, a Japanese-style afternoon tea set that they offer from 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm. It comes with 2 types of tea, inarizushi (fried tofu filled with vinegar rice), snacks, and wagashi (traditional Japanese confectionary) placed on a Japanese-style tea stand. The shop at the entrance of the tea house offers seasonal fresh sweets, different kinds of cakes, carefully selected tea leaves, and original bowls, so you can also buy souvenirs.
Sweets in a carefully designed souvenir package
Omotesando Chacha no Ma is a famous shop that offers carefully selected Japanese tea and delicious sweets that go well with it. On the menu, there are explanation on the tea types, area of cultivation, harvest, production process, and distinguishing characteristics. There is also a pie chart that lists 5 points (sweetness, flavor, rarity, fragrance, and richness) in an easy-to-understand way so you can refer to it and choose your tea. For those who are overwhelmed by all the choices and don't know what to try, it's recommended that you try the Nomikurabe Set in which you can try a little bit of 3 different kinds of tea. The flavor of tea properly brewed by a tea sommelier is superb. This is definitely a place where you can be surprised by the depth of the tea world.
Photo is for illustration purposes.
Kosoan is a Japanese-style cafe in a house a few minutes away from Jiyugaoka Station. This teahouse was originally built as a home in the Taisho era (1912-1926) that was then renovated. It's surrounded by greenery and it's so quiet you'll forget you're in the city. The decorative tansu chest and the brazier made out of a huge tree are all items that were actually used. The recommendation is the matcha, which is made carefully cup by cup. It comes with a bite-sized tea sweet that goes well with the perfectly bitter matcha. You can gaze out at the landscaped garden from a window seat. This is a perfect place to spend a luxurious break as you look at the beautiful garden.
Green tea isn't just delicious, but it also has many health benefits such as strengthening one's immune system and helping protect against cavities and maybe even cancer. While you're in Japan, please compare different types of teas to find the one you like best.
*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.