Just like in China, India and the UK, tea is an incredibly important part of life in Japan. In fact there are whole ceremonies dedicated to the making of it, the most formal of which can last for up to four hours.
Though not all visitors staying in Tokyo will have the time or opportunity to experience a full Japanese Tea Ceremony, there are plenty of beautiful tea houses across the city serving a variety of delicious and refreshing blends.
If you’re staying in Tokyo and want to escape the hustle and bustle of the city for an hour or two, here’s a guide to some of the best places to enjoy a freshly brewed cup of tea.
One of just two surviving Edo period clan gardens in Tokyo, Koishikawa Korakuen is one of the oldest and most romantic gardens in the city.
Adjacent to Tokyo Dome City, Koishikawa Korakuen offers an oasis of calm in one of the busiest parts of Tokyo. Visitors to the garden can enjoy authentic Japanese tea in the restaurant overlooking the garden and forget all about the modern world outside the gates.
Tea Shop Kenyan, Shibuya
With a great interior and bags of retro charm, Tea Shop Kenyan is a fantastic place to stop for a brew in the city centre. Unlike most tea shops in the area, Tea Shop Kenyan specialises in milk teas, so make sure you try one if you are stopping for a cuppa.
Full of maple trees and other deciduous varieties, Rikugien is the perfect place to enjoy some spectacular autumn foliage, with the garden erupting in a rainbow of red, yellow, brown and gold at the end of every summer.
The tea house in Rikugien has a lovely view of the pond and bridge and is a fantastic place to relax and unwind while staying in Tokyo.
La Palette, Shimokitazawa
Well known among Tokyo’s trendy youth, La Palette is on the second floor of a building over looking Shimokitazawa Station.
Famous for its wide range of teas, as well as delicious sandwiches and cakes, the tea house is a great place to people watch in the heart of Tokyo.
Hama Rikyu Garden
Surrounded by a seawater moat filled by Tokyo Bay, Hama Rikyu Garden is home to delightful tea house serving a variety of traditional brews.
Originally built as the villa of a Shogun family, Hama Rikyu Garden is traditional in design. However the contrast between the pretty ponds and maple trees and the nearby towering skyscrapers leaves you in no doubt about the park’s location.