It’s the quintessential Japanese cultural culinary experience – sipping delicious tea, served in a soothing ritual, while you contemplate the universe. But where’s the best spot to savour this calming ceremony?
While tearooms in Tokyo abound, none are quite like Shinya Sakurai’s new Minami Aoyama location, on the fifth floor of the modern Spiral building. Forget ancient stone-and-wood teahouses surrounded by bonsai – this is an ultra-contemporary glass-and-metal cube, allowing visitors to concentrate purely on the creation and presentation of sublime tea.
Tranquillity and fragrant scents rule at Sakurai Japanese Tea Experience, with the hushed intimate space comprising a shop selling innovative seasonal teas, a roasting room for homemade hojicha, and an intimate Sabo teahouse that seats eight. Divine!
Perch at the sleek salon counter, where friendly service makes tea tasting a pleasure. You’ll discover top-quality, region-spanning Japanese teas, from everyday sencha and bancha to high-grade matcha, shade-grown gyokuro and speciality blends, roasted in-house within the glass-walled workshop. Like mixologists, the expert lab-coated staff prepare tea in unusual ways, drawing on a mix of old-school and cutting-edge utensils, perhaps infusing it with rum or vodka, or melting it in ice (try the roasted tea ice desserts).
Teas are paired with trad sweets (wagashi) and meals too, or sample the tasting menus and tea courses. Subtle yet sophisticated, this is the perfect place to seek out the secrets of vintage and new Japanese brews…
Sakurai / 5/F / Spiral / 5-6-23 Minami Aoyama / Minato-ku / +81 3 6451 1539 / 11am-11pm daily / sakurai-tea.jp