The citys top ten spots for tea

Small Tokyo tea houses you need to know about

The city’s top ten spots for tea

Every day can seem like an endless rush of activity. Once in a while, though, you deserve a chance to relax and take a deep breath – and when you do, there’s nothing better than a nice cup of tea. Tea certainly has calming effects – in England it is even drunk as a nightcap before going to sleep. Just like any other matter of taste, if you want to enjoy the most delicious tea, it’s best to go to a specialist.

Tokyo offers a wealth of stores that specialise in coffee but, surprisingly, tea is a little harder to find. Time Out has searched out the stores with the finest selections – from pioneers in the field, to newer shops offering a relaxing, at-home environment in which to enjoy your tea. Each store offers their owner’s particular choices for all kinds of tea, from iced tea to milk tea and special blends. There are even teas to complement the seasons, particular sweets and food. The expert staff at each store will tell you all you need to know to find the perfect tea. Many of the specialty stores also sell tea leaves, so don’t forget to pick some up to enjoy at home.

Tea House Tea Belle

This quaintly-sized tea house opened 11 years ago in a residential area close to Soshigaya-Okura Station on the Odakyu Line. Inside, space is limited to counter seats and table seats for four, and its homely atmosphere will soothe even the weariest soul. The woody interior is overflowing with a variety of charming items on display. There are a number of recommended teas on offer, as well as blends and flavoured teas. Tea can also be complimented with homemade, country-style scones and tea cookies. Loose tea leaves are also available.

Address: 8-6-24 Kinuta, Setagaya, Tokyo
Telephone: (03)3749 1267
Open: Mon-Tue, Thu-Sun 11.15am-8pm, closed Wed

Tea and Herbs Orange Pekoe

This small tea shop opened in 1991 and is located 10 minutes walk from Komagome Station on the JR Yamanote Line. Seating is limited to the counter and tables seating four. Seasonal teas, Darjeeling tea, Assam tea, Uva tea and herbal teas are all part of the extensive range available. The pair who run the store have a deep interest in both teas and herbs, and will leave you with a complete appreciation of the attraction of good quality tea. A selection of homemade cookies and aromatherapy items are also available.

Address: 1-61-3 Nishigahara, Kita, Tokyo
Telephone: (03)3915 5150
Open: Mon-Tue, Thu-Sun 10.30am-6pm, closed Wed and the first and third Sat of the month


This serene little shop stands in Brahms Lane, a quiet side street just off the crowded teen-friendly Takeshita Street in Harajuku. Christie opened in 1980, so this year marks its 30th anniversary. Ever since it opened, its English-style service of tea and scones has proved a popular combination. Over 40 varieties of tea are available. Regulars love the comfortable, unchanging atmosphere and it is a plum location to relax and enjoy a quiet moment away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

Address: 1-16-1 Jingumae, Shibuya, Tokyo
Telephone: (03)3401 2866
Open: Mon-Sat 11am-10pm, Sun 11am-8pm, nat. holidays 11am-9.30pm

Tea Shop Kenyan, Shibuya

This tea store opened 28 years ago near the Shibuya ward office and the interior retains an enduring, retro charm. The café’s specialty is the ‘I-Mi-Tea’, a rich iced milk tea. The shop’s owners believe that tea is something that should always be drunk with milk and – as you would expect – milk teas are their particular forte. If you do visit Kenyan, make sure you try one. Their original blend and six other varieties of tea leaves are all available for takeaway. Unfortunately, the leaves used to make the I-Mi-Tea aren’t for sale.

Address: 1st Floor Nambu Bldg., 1-14-8 Jinnan, Shibuya, Tokyo
Telephone: (03)3464 2549
Open: Mon-Sun 11.30am–10pm

La Palette

This long-established teahouse is located in Shimokitazawa, and well known for its stage theatre and trend-setting youth culture. Despite being on the second floor of a building facing the busy street by Shimokitazawa Station (on both the Odakyu Line and Keio Inokashira Line), the store has a surprisingly quiet and calm ambience. La Palette is not only known for its excellent teas, but also for its delicious sandwiches and cakes.

Address: 2-30-3 Kitazawa, Setagaya, Tokyo
Telephone: (03)3465 0740
Open: Mon-Sun 10.30am-10pm, closed third Mon of the month

Tea Shop Aoi Sora

This pioneering tea shop opened in 1974 by Chitose-Funabashi Station on the Odakyu Line. The relaxing décor has a nostalgic, Showa feel to it. Aoi Sora’s owner opened the café after visiting the tea fields of Sri Lanka and India and experiencing the flavour and aroma of truly fresh tea. The café prides itself on its original milk tea selection, with over 10 unique varieties including the ‘Aoi Sora Milk Tea’ and the ‘Chocolate Mint Milk Tea’.

Address: 1-6-5 Funabashi, Setagaya, Tokyo
Telephone: (03)3425 3221
Open: Tue-Sun 10am-8pm, closed Mon and second Tue of the month

Die Katze

Named after the German word for cat, the manager of Die Katze is the adorable cat, Koenig. It’s a must-visit for cat lovers. The café is located right by Shinjuku-gyoenmae Station on the Tokyo Metro Marunouchi Line, and on a nice day it’s a lovely stroll from Shinjuku. There are over 30 varieties of tea on offer as well as baked sweets like scones and brownies. Special lunch sets, which of course include tea, are also available.

Address: 202 Sunmall No.7 Bldg., 1-19-8 Shinjuku, Shinjuku, Tokyo
Telephone: (03)3352 5510
Open: Mon-Sat 11.30am-8pm, Sun and nat. holidays 11.30am-6.30pm

Tea Shop Mohini

Mohini is right next to Akebonobashi station on the Toei Shinjuku Line. It’s well known for being frequented by tea connoisseurs. The café’s selection of over 160 kinds of tea are specially selected and stocked from Eikokuya in Nagoya. If you are a tea novice, we highly recommend asking for the owner’s expert advice. The freshly baked scones and pound cakes are a perfect complement to the teas. A cup of Mohini’s carefully prepared tea will provide the perfect moment of peace in your otherwise busy day.

Address: 101 Urban Heights, 8-8 Sumiyoshicho, Shinjuku, Tokyo
Telephone: (03)5368 4016
Open: Tue-Sun 10am-7.30pm, closed Mon


This café serving British-style tea and sweets is located in a quiet residential area around a 10-minute walk from Jiyugaoka Station on the Tokyu Toyoko Line. The couple who run the business have lived in Britain and used their retirement as the perfect opportunity to start up the café. With homemade scones and cakes to complement their teas, it’s just right for an enjoyable afternoon tea. Mayfield also holds classes on everything from aromatherapy and British literature to English quilting. As it occasionally closes on Saturdays, make sure to call and check before you go.

Address: 2-19-10 Midorigaoka, Meguro, Tokyo
Telephone: (03)5729 7228
Open: Wed-Sun 10am-6pm, closed Mon-Tue and occasional Sat

Tea and Sweets Mayanchi

This tea room, a two minute walk from the JR and Tokyu Kamata Station, is a special hideaway where patrons can feel at home. The fashionable white interior is the perfect place to enjoy a leisurely cup of tea. The owner started the café because of her deep interest in sweets, and the selection of teas from around the world is well matched by the handmade cakes and other sweet treats on offer. Classes covering etiquette, felt craftwork and sugar sculpture are also held in the café.

Address: 207 Royal Heights Kamata, 5-43-7 Kamata, Ota, Tokyo
Telephone: (03)6276 1667
Open: Tue-Sat 11.30am-6.30pm, closed Sun-Mon

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By Ai Terada
Translated by Virginia Okno
Please note: All information is correct at the time of writing but is subject to change without notice.


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