A tea ceremony is a tradition that is steeped in the Japanese history. While Kyoto remains the centre of the tea ceremony, Tokyo also offers its fair share of tea ceremonies. Joining this traditional cultural activity and watching the ingredients being prepared with care and all the ceremonial rules of serving, will be a great experience. You will gain a deeper understanding of the Japanese culture and it will, without a doubt, create unique memories. As a travel agency, we often receive requests for experiencing a Japanese tea ceremony. Here we introduce some places in Tokyo that allow you to enjoy a traditional tea ceremony experience.
What is Sado, tea ceremony?
Tea ceremony, Sado in Japanese, is a Japanese cultural activity that involves preparing matcha green tea (抹茶) and serving it in a specific traditional way. The ritual of tea drinking was first used by Buddhist monks in the Kamakura period (1192 – 1333) to stay awake during their long meditation sessions. During the 16th century, tea became a symbol of status amongst warriors and its popularity had spread to all levels of the Japanese society.
There will be serval types of tea ceremony experiences you can choose in Tokyo. Just watching tea ceremony prepared by a professional and try matcha with Japanese sweets or participating the ceremony and learn the essence of it, or you can just enjoy the taste of matcha without the ceremony! Choose the experience by your purpose and get into the deep world of matcha green tea.
Places to enjoy tea ceremony in Tokyo
This traditional tea house is located in the fascinating garden in Minato. In the garden you can see over 500 years old bonsai trees. The garden is very calming with its sophisticated display of tree, stone, water and sand that are well composed to reproduce the nature. In this calm environment you can participate in a tea ceremony but it is also possible to just stop by to have tea and Japanese sweets. For the tea ceremony, three different plans are offered suiting all your wishes. Please note that you need to make a reservation beforehand.
HAPPO-EN official website
Duration 30-60 minutes
Tea and sweets only ¥1,100 per person
Tea-ceremony experience (chair) ¥2,200 per person
Tea-ceremony experience (tatami) ¥8,800 per person
*Weekday only, max. 2 people.
Located 1 minute walk from the famous Kaminarimon Gate in Asakusa, this place offers several traditional Japanese experiences. You can choose to either watching or participating in the process of tea ceremony. You can enjoy taking pictures during the experience so that you can keep the wonderful memory after the trip. Also, you can choose to wear kimono during the tea ceremony. Get the full experience in a traditional way!
Duration 30-50 minutes
Take a part in the tea-serving ¥3,300 per person (min. 2 people)
See tea-serving ¥2,750 per person (min. 5 people)
*Minimum age is 6 years old
Shizu-kokora is conveniently located between Asakusa and Kappa Bashi Kitchen street and offers a tea ceremony in an authentic tea room. They have a workshop to introduce you the basics of the way of tea and also they will show you a short movie to give you a better understandings before the ceremony.
Duration 90 minutes
¥4,180 per person
Tuesday – Saturday, 10am – 5.30pm
Kimono Tea ceremony Maikoya is located in the central Shinjuku area and a perfect tea ceremony option for those who want to have a traditional hands on tea experience. Visitors can wear a kimono, learn about the culture and history of the ritual from the exhibitions, listen to the meaning and symbolism of the tradition from the hosts, watch a demonstration of the ritual and finally make their own matcha tea. The hosts speak perfect English and they are very friendly.
Duration 60-90 minutes
Participate in traditional tea ceremony ¥2,400 per person
Participate in traditional tea ceremony and wear a kimono ¥5,200 per person
Other options: Private luxury tea ceremony in a zen garden or group tea ceremony
DO EDO (Kabukiza)
This modern cafe located on 5th floor of Kabuki Tower where Kabukiza, Japanese traditional play theater, is located. Surrounded by numerous bamboos to boost your inner zen, you learn how to make and drink tea. It is good for beginners and if you prefer a “normal” setting (on the chair) and not kneeling on the Tatami mat floor, we recommend this place. Also, you receive a green tea kit to take home when you join the lesson!
Start 10.30am, 12am, 1pm, 4.30pm and 6pm everyday
¥6,000 per person (Including Matcha tea kit set of ¥4,270)
AIRKITCHEN TEA CEREMONY EXPERIENCES
Through airKitchen, you can choose from many tea ceremony experiences around Tokyo that offer an intimate cultural exchange experience. The tea ceremony experiences are hosted by Japanese locals, and most of them take place at home. This type of experience not only exposes travelers to the tradition of the tea ceremony, but also gives them a rare glimpse into the daily lives of Japanese people. Many tea ceremony experiences also include Wagashi making or Sushi making, enabling you to also learn how to make these traditional Japanese dishes before enjoying them together with your host.
When you are looking for an intimate, local experience, we recommend this option. airKitchen gives both travellers and hosts the unique opportunity to engage deeply with culture.
Depending on your chosen experience prices vary between ¥2,000 – ¥10,000 per person
*All hosts speak English.
In the ceremonial chamber inside of the Imperial Hotel, you can watch as their tea is prepared in the traditional fashion. The hotel itself is built in Western style but once you enter the Toko-an, you will see the traditional style tea room, including tatami mats.
Monday – Saturday 10am – 4pm
¥2,000 per person
*Closed on Sundays and National Holidays
HiSUi Tokyo (Ginza)
It is a really nice tea room located in the middle of Ginza. There are also different types of Japanese culture you can experience besides tea ceremony such as Kimono Dressing, Japanese Calligraphy, Samurai Swordsmanship etc.
Duration 30-45 minutes
¥10,000 per person (min. 2 people)
When you are looking for just a great cup of tea in a beautiful environment, we recommend you the visit one of the following places. Of course you can get your cup of Matcha even at Starbucks, but these places make the tea drinking much more special and zen!
At these places you can enjoy matcha in a Japanese Garden:
- Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden @ Rakuutei
¥700 – https://fng.or.jp/shinjuku/en/#highlights
- Rikugien Garden @ Fukiage tea house
¥510 – https://www.tokyo-park.or.jp/teien/en/rikugien/
- Hamarikyu garden @ Nakashima tea house
¥510-¥720 – https://www.tokyo-park.or.jp/park/format/facilities028.html
Another great recommendation is the Nezu Museum. Inside the museum there is a great cafe where you can enjoy the matcha overlooking the beautiful garden.
Nezu Museum @ NEZUCAFÉ
¥1,300 – http://www.nezu-muse.or.jp/jp/guide/cafe.html
These were some of our recommendations where you can enjoy a traditional Japanese tea ceremony, by either just drinking some delicious matcha tea or participating yourself. When you are in Japan, a tea ceremony should be included on your to do list!
There is a small but important thing we would to share before you experience tea ceremony. Please note that it is considered rude if you don’t wear socks when you enter the tea room. Don’t forget your socks even in the summer!
Are you are interested in other Japanese cultural traditions? We can recommend you more activities including:
- Go to a sumo stable and watch the daily morning practice (please contact us)
- Visit Tsukiji Market and learn how to make sushi
- Learn calligraphy in Tokyo
If you would like to get more information about guided tours in Tokyo or other parts of Japan, please visit our website. We hope you have a good time in Japan! Follow us on Instagram or Facebook for more travel inspiration. Or tag us to get featured!
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