Enjoy Japanese gardens and green tea in Tokyo and Kyoto

It is a pleasure to drink a nice cup of tea while looking at a beautiful garden. When there are not many tourists, it is possible to appreciate the calmness of the Zen atmosphere. In Japanese gardens, wind blows and birds sing. It is possible to meditate and think about life with a cup of tea on side while admiring the astonishing colors of the Japanese flora… Green, light green, red, orange, pink etc…Although, it’s not easy to discover these places where we can drink a cup of tea in quietness. Personally, I like the city, but I do not like noisy place, therefore to survive in the city, I always try to find out some peaceful places. In this article, I will show you some spots where you can appreciate our tea culture while being absorbed in the Japanese urban culture.

Kyu-Iwasaki-tei Garden, Tokyo 旧岩崎邸庭園

The garden of the Iwasaki’s family is famous for its British-colonial style house and the huge garden. Although the complex it is very renowned for that, it counts also of a beautiful ancient Japanese-style house. The ancient landlord of this house was Hisaya Iwasaki, grand-child of the founder of The Mitsubishi Company, one of the biggest firm in Japan. They were economically outstanding. In our tradition, we do not use to show off our economical position. Thus, unlike European houses, Japanese ones look like very simple and “moderated”. However, by looking carefully, it is possible to understand that every material is of great quality. In our tradition, we like to spend a lot of money in hidden details and if someone is able to notice them, it is a source of pride for the owner. 

Inside Iwasaki’s house, there is a small tea salon where it is possible to have Maccha and traditional Japanese sweets. Iwasaki’s garden is next to Ueno park, one of the favorite tourists’ place, that is why it is a bit noisy. Although, Ueno park its usually crowded, but once in the Iwasaki’s house you will feel in a calm atmosphere. When in hot summers, this part of the city is quite cool thanks to the gentle breezes that blows throughout the house. It is another world in Ueno!

 

Adress : 1-3-45 Ikeno-hata Taito-kun Tokyo

Train Station : 3 minutes a walk from Yushima station of Tokyo-metro Chiyoda line

Entrance fee : 400 yens

Opening hours : 9h-17h

Rikugi-en, Tokyo 六義園

In Tokyo, it is quite difficult to find a great Japanese garden. Honestly, if you are really interested on that, you should take a train ticket and go to Kyoto.Train ticket is usually expensive, but it is worth buying. But if you have limited time and you can’t go to Kyoto, I recommend you to visit Rikugi-en at Komagome. Rikugi-en is one of most beautiful garden in Tokyo, created in Edo era. There are 2 tea salons where you can drink Maccha green tea. The best tea salon is ‘Fuki-age jya-ya’ which is located in front of a lake. Sitting next to a big pine tree, you can enjoy Japanese tea and the traditional atmosphere.

 

Adress 6 Hon-komagome, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo

Opening hours : 9h - 17h

Train station: 7 minutes from Komagome station, JR Yamanote line or Tokyo Métro Nan-boku line

Entrance fee : 300 yens

 

Shin-nyo-do temple, Kyoto 真如堂

If you want to see the characteristics autumn leaves of the Japanese maples trees, the Shinnyo-do temple can offer astonishing landscapes. There are so many maple trees which are changing colors from green to yellow, orange, and red. You will feel that you are in another world by walking under the trees. Shin-nyo-do temple is a wonderful place appreciated by local people. You can also have a rest and drink some tea in a small tea corner.

 

Adress : 82 Jyo-doji sinnyo-cho, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto

Bus stop : Sin-nyo-do-mae, or Kinrin-syako-mae station. 8 minutes a walk from bus stop.

Entrance fee : 500 yens, but you can walk around the temple for free.

 

 

Mount-Takao, Kyoto 高雄

Mount-Arashiyama in Kyoto is very famous for its “koyo” (leaves changing colors in the trees and falling on the ground) and it is full of people even in weekdays. To avoid crowd it will be better to visit mount Takao. If you can arrive in the best season (last weeks of November or beginning of December), you can feel that you are in paradise. All the mountains become orange, yellow and red. The shades of those colors are amazing. Usually there are fewer people than Arashiyama. Along the street toward Jingo-ji temple, there are some places where you can have a lunch or take a break outside. Having a lunch under the autumn leaves is an exceptional experience.

 

Access:1 hour by bus from Kyoto station. Destination to Takao.

Entoku-in temple, Kyoto 圓徳院

In Kyoto, Kiyomizu-temple and Kodai-ji temple are so famous that there are lots of tourists around. Entoku-in temple, located in front of Kodai-ji, is more serene than Kodai-ji. The garden of Entoku-in temple is one of the most beautiful Japanese gardens in Kyoto. Especially in the city center, it is difficult to find such a beautiful garden. When it is raining, wet stones in the garden are shining brilliantly and it is difficult to stop watching them. If you are lucky, you can take a bowl of Maccha in a small tea room for only 5-6 persons (need a reservations until the day before your arrival, 1500 yens). In Kyoto, there are many small tea rooms inside the temples dedicated to private tea ceremonies (not for tourists). But in Entoku-in temple, you can enjoy the atmosphere of Japanese Tea ceremony for a while. You can take a Maccha in front of the garden too(500 yens). 

 

Adress : 530, Shimo-gawara-cho, Kodai-ji, Higashi-yama-ku, Kyoto

Entrance fee : 500 yens

Opening hours : 10h-17h

Reservation : 075 525 0101