Tea shops in Tokyo & Kyoto

Culture, language, tangibles, intangibles from countries known for tea

Tea shops in Tokyo & Kyoto

Postby ole » Mar 8th, '14, 19:01

I'm going to Tokyo for the first time in June, although it's only for 10 days, I'm planning to try and squeeze in a trip to Kyoto (and Uji of course).
If all goes well, I'm hoping to fill up my suitcase to the brim with tea and teaware on my way home.
Since I'm assuming it will be quite a number of vendors in both Tokyo and Kyoto to choose from, can any one recommend some of their favourite places to fill their tea addiction? (also, any other non-tea places that you feel I got to see while I'm there, feel free to share them as well!)

Although I'm trying to learn Japanese, my skills are not that great at the moment, so it would be great if the shops at least spoke a very minimum of English as well.

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Re: Tea shops in Tokyo & Kyoto

Postby JBaymore » Mar 9th, '14, 12:09

In Kyoto, make sure to visit Kiyomizudera. East to get to via city buses and well known. Aside from the fact that it is a beautiful place to visit, the small narrow streets leading up the hill to the temple are lined with pottery shops and studios.

You'll find everything from serious tourist schlock to Living National Treasure's work. Often side-by-side :roll: .

Be aware that 'Kyoto' is well aware of the value of good teawares. It's the cultural capital of Japan. So if you are looking for 'good stuff'...... be prepared for some likely "sticker shock"....certainy compared to most of the teawares sources that people are discussing here on TeaChat.

If you want THE English speaking person in Kyoto to see GOOD ceramics with, seek out a friend of mine, Robert Yellin. He has a great gallery near the Ginkakuji along the Philosopher's Path. Robert knows more about Japanese ceramics than most Japanese ceramists. But he does deal in good work..... so we are back to the "sticker shock" comment above. (Example, I picked up a nice guinomi by a mildly famous Japanese potter when I was at his gallery a couple of years ago....... for about $300+ US. That is kinda 'low end' for Robert's stuff.)


https://www.facebook.com/pages/Robert-Y ... 4563178741

See if a temple antique or art or pottery "fleamarket" is going on when you are in Tokyo and Kyoto. Toursit information listings often show them. Those can be great sources for some bargains. Usually held on weekend mornings from about dawn til late afternoon. If nothing else.... lots of fun to go to.



PS: Get a JapanRailPass for your trip if you are entering as a "tourist" category. It will pay for itself for a single trip from Tokyo to Kyoto and back.

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Re: Tea shops in Tokyo & Kyoto

Postby chingwa » Mar 9th, '14, 21:54

If you do get to Kyoto, you MUST go to fushimi-inari shrine... and this is best done at sunset, in my opinion. A good walk up the mountain and back in the deepening gloom is one of the most magical (and creepy) experiences I've ever had. Don't think there are any ghosts to be afraid of (though maybe foxes :shock: )

Of course in Kyoto there's Ippodo which is always a nice place to stop, and they also have a shop in Tokyo near Tokyo Station. And you can always visit the basement of any one of the (hundreds?) of japanese department stores in Tokyo.

Apart from that, there are famous tea shops all around Kyoto, but I wouldn't discount the local experience either. Having some hot sencha at the end of a long day in a crowded and smoky (it's the japanese way) local neighborhood kissaten can be just as memorable an experience as sitting in more somber/formal traditional tearoom.

In general you won't find many places or people that speak English, but regardless most people will be extremely polite and try and help you out. You could and should try out your Japanese, but you aren't likely to understand much that is said back to you :D

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Re: Tea shops in Tokyo & Kyoto

Postby JBaymore » Mar 9th, '14, 22:08

Note that Kyoto Japanese and Tokyo Japanese are quite different. If you are studying... likely you are getting "standard" Tokyo dialect.


Tokyo -------- Thank you .............. Arigato gozaimasu.

Kyoto --------- Thank you...............Osakini.

Just try your best langage... it will be greatly appreciated that you tried.



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Re: Tea shops in Tokyo & Kyoto

Postby rdl » Mar 9th, '14, 23:46

i posted this a year or so ago but i thought i may be of some use to you.
a few suggestions for tea, to buy or to drink:
Teramachi Shijo agaru
Nakagyo-ku Kyoto Japan
Tel 81 +75- 221-1215
Fax 81 +75- 213-2502
E-mail horaido@kyoto-teramachi.or.jp
*He is closed on a particular Sunday each month (second Sunday I think)

Shijo Tominokoji, Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto-city, Kyoto 600-8005 Japan
Closed: on January 1st, Every 3rd Wednesday except November

Marukyu-Koyamaen Uji * a personal favorite, located in uji also.
Nishinotoin Tea House Kyoto
http://www.marukyu-koyamaen.co.jp (near Nijo castle)

one piece of advice. Kyoto is a large busy city and travel time by bus or on foot can take up lots of your visit. if you don't travel by taxi or in a tour or private car, you should try to plan as best in advance. it takes away the spontaneity but in Kyoto with so much to do i found it more rewarding.
in tokyo there is a small nice shop for tea ware that i always enjoyed as i was just left alone to spend as much time looking at the two floors - even the flight up of stairs has tea ware on small side shelves - as i liked. although in asakusa, just down the street on a corner (look for the outdoor display), a few blocks from the kaminarimon gate on kaminarimon dori, it isn't a tourist shop. prices vary from affordable to very expensive.
my advice would be if you're not planning to collect an important work or from a famous potter, just buy what really moves you. because the high priced pieces can be so unobtainable it doesn't mean a 2000 yen piece won't move you and give you happiness to for years to come. and any shop carrying hand made items will certainly have beautiful pieces.
good luck and enjoy!
enjoy your trip.

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Re: Tea shops in Tokyo & Kyoto

Postby Pig Hog » Mar 22nd, '14, 14:04

I don't want to hijack this thread but I'm looking for nearly the same info.

First post on here, though I know my way around Japanese tea—perhaps not as well as some of you but I'm no beginner!

I'll be in Japan for two weeks in May (first visit but hopefully not the last). I'm staying in Matsubushi, Saitama-ken but will have a few opportunities to get into Tokyo. Is there anywhere in the area that anyone can recommend to get tea ware from? I'm mainly looking to pick up another kyusu or something, maybe a hira chawan if I can. Obviously, I'd like to get some tea as well, if I get the chance, but tea ware is my priority.

I've been considering ordering from Artistic Nippon for a while, to be honest, but would ideally like to get something new while I'm out there there. And if it makes any difference to what gets recommended, my Japanese isn't very good but I'm working on that!

Looking forward to joining in a bit more around here and to the OP, hope you enjoy your trip in June!

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Re: Tea shops in Tokyo & Kyoto

Postby ole » Apr 10th, '14, 14:33

Sorry for my superlate reply, all of a sudden work got a little too intense (then again, perfect for saving up money to spend on expensive teas :lol: )

I appreciate everyone's help, I have checked out the places, and written down some addresses. Since my time in Kyoto is limited, I'm trying to plan well in advance. My hotel is located next to Nijō Castle, so I hope finding my way around won't be to hard.

I should probably work on my Kyoto-ben before leaving then. As if 'normal' Japanese isn't hard enough.

Hope you have a great trip Pig Hog, please feel free to notice me if you find some hidden gems.

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