Tradition And Modernity: A Guide To Tokyo’s Top Tea Rooms

It will warm you if we’re cool, cool you if we’re hot, and cheer you if feeling blue — and that’s just the start of a long list of positive effects this popular drink can have on you. It goes without saying that tea has been a staple drink in Japan ever since the Zen monk Eisai brought it back from China in the late 12th century. But while in the old days the flavors were more or less limited to green tea, in modern Japan, you’ll find yourself almost lost at the vast array of thriving traditional tea houses as well as a new generation of contemporary tea shops that are bringing a whole new dimension to tea drinking.

Just in time for the hot summer, we visit some of the best tea rooms in town – from the hottest new establishments to the century-old mainstays that make your dreams of sipping and relaxing come to life.

Higashiya Ginza

Typically, an ambiance is half the experience of a dining venue, but in Higashiya it’s almost all about it. The calming Japanese design sensibility and the serenity of the place, the contemporary yet timeless interior influenced by Japanese aesthetics – everything here exudes restrained elegance. Not to say the tea or food is lacking. Higashiya specializes in artisanal wagashi, bite-sized traditional Japanese confectionery inspired by regional specialties, but recreated to appeal to contemporary palates. You can either purchase your treats to go or proceed to the tea salon inside where the tea masters beyond the kitchen bar will serve you a wide array of herbal and green teas. Opt for the Japanese-style afternoon tea set, which comes with savory and sweet bites paired with a selection of two teas.

Where: Pola Ginza Bldg. 2F, 1-7-7 Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo
Business hours: …continue reading