An Afternoon of Tea in Osaka

An Afternoon of Tea in Osaka

Cups of perfectly steeped tea have been a fixture of Japanese culture for hundreds of years. Bring this Japanese tradition to life on your next trip to Osaka! From retro asian tea rooms to high-end shops, Osaka has everything you need for a tea infused afternoon in Japan.

Kuromon Ichiba  (黒門市場)

Our first stop on our tea tour brings us to Kuromon Ichiaba. Kuromon Ichiba is a local market specializing in fish, fruits, and tofu. Kuromon’s history dates back to long before the Meiji era of Japan. Since then it has become a major tourist attraction.image

Nestled here, among the mixture of local chefs and international visitors, you can find a beautiful tea shop run by an elderly couple. This shop offers many high-end Japanese teas such as Gyokuro and Sencha. After speaking with the owners, I learned the shop has been in operation since before World War II, originally opening in 1937. The owners also expressed a desire to bring awareness to Japanese culture by encouraging international tourists to experience Japanese tea slowly and leisurely. They also stressed the importance of proper water temperatures and steep times and provided me with written instructions in English nevertheless! I had a lovely time chatting and learning about tea with the owners of this shop and I encourage my readers to do the same! 

While you’re in the area, don’t miss the chaos that is Kuromon Market. Everyday this covered outdoor market place comes alive with vendors and people from all over the world hoping to grab a bite to eat and experience a truly Osaka style environment. The venders of Kuromon Ichiba cater to hundreds of international tourists everyday. Signs are often displayed in both English and Japanese and the shop owners are quite accommodating.

The owners of a tea shop in Osaka that is almost 80 years old.

The owners of the tea shop in Kuromon Ichiba. This shop has been in operation for 80 years!

What you’ll see: A bustling local market selling fish, fruits, and tea.

Price range: $ – $$$ (high quality teas available)

Go for: Authentic market experience, local tea shop

Open: 7:00 am – 6:00 pm 

Web: http://www.kuromon.com/

Address: 2 Chome-4-1 Nipponbashi, Chuo Ward, Osaka

Shinsaibashi

Our next stop is within walking distance of Kuromon Market, but the atmosphere is worlds away. Shinsaibashi is a shopping district located in Cho Ward of Osaka. This shopping area has a rich history, dating back hundreds of years. Today, Shinsaibashi is home to many high-end western style shops and elegant boutiques. While you may stumble upon any number of tea shops while strolling around this area, we recommend the Ujien Shinsaibashi main store. There is a cafe located next to the shop as well. The shop features high quality matcha sweets and various Japanese teas. Matcha ice creams and other desserts are offered at this location.

What you’ll see: Highend shopping district, clean upscale shop

Price range: $ – $$$ (high quality teas available)

Go for: High quality teas selected from throughout Japan

Open: 10:00 am – 8:00 pm

Web: http://www.ujikoen.co.jp/

Address: 1-4-20, Shinsaibashi-suji, Chuo-ku, Osaka

Kitahama Retro

This cafe is located in a gorgeous two-story building dating back to 1912. The building itself boasts a long history, including surviving World War II when the rest of Osaka was being bombed! Today, it offers a rare glimpse into an older style of architecture that is now rare in this part of the city.

Inside Kitahama Retro, seating is on the second floor.

Inside Kitahama Retro, seating is on the second floor.lding survived world war 2, when the rest of Osaka was being bombed! Today, it offers a rare glimpse into an older style of architecture that is now rare in the city.

Operating since 1997, the Kitahama Retro tea house features a plethora of delicacies and high quality teas. Although Japanese is primarily spoken, there is an English menu available. Light snacks such as scones, cookies and cakes are served. This cafe offers a British atmosphere complemented by charming antique interior decoration. As for tea, this shop has it all! The tea menu is three pages long and includes leaves from all over the world. If you’re lucky to snag yourself a window seat, you can enjoy a bankside view of the Okawa River. 

This cafe is especially popular with locals and, without a reservation, you may find yourself waiting a long time to sit down. Unfortunately, reservations are only accepted on weekdays.

Kitahama Retro Building

Kitahama Retro Building

Price range: $$

Go for: The building, British atmosphere, three page tea menu.

Open: open 11 a.m.- 9:30 p.m. (7 p.m. on weekends)

Web:  http://www.osakainfo.jp/en/facilities/cat11/post_36.html

Address: 1-1-26 Kitahama, Chuo-ku, Osaka City

Nana’s Green Tea

Have a sweet tooth? At Nana’s Green Tea, you can experience matcha as well as a unique green tea sweets. This restaurant is a chain shop operating in many cities throughout Japan. However, despite being a chain shop, this cafe offers surprisingly delicious sweets and a large selections of teas. While you’re there, you’ll have the chance to try other traditional Japanese sweets such as red bean dumplings and soup or even green tea ice cream. 

When traveling through Osaka, go to the Umeda location. Located in the south wing of the beautiful Grand Front building, this location has exceptional seating. Nana’s Green Tea has an English menu and friendly staff. 

Price range: $

Go for: The sweets, matcha, seating

Open: daily, 10:00 am – 9:00 pm 

Web: http://www.nanasgreentea.com/

Address: 4-20 Ofukacho Kita-Ku | Grand Front Osaka South Wing 4F, Osaka

Kimono Tea House

Our last stop is the Kimono Tea House. Located near the historical Shitennō-ji Temple, this tea house welcomes both Japanese and foreigners to participate in traditional tea ceremony. Visitors can learn about Japanese culture while wearing kimono. The owner speaks English and even offers trips to the nearby temples. Learn how to prepare matcha using traditional tools and rituals. Kimono Teahouse works to expose foreigners to a side of Japan they might not otherwise be able to experience. Sessions are held everyday, but participation is by appointment only. The ceremony usually lasts about two hours.

Kimono tea hour is a unique experience because the shop is situated in a real Japanese apartment. The owner will meet you at the station to guide you to the home. There, you’ll be given a kimono and taught how to properly wear the garment. This intimate experience will allow you to learn the rules and etiquette of ancient Japanese tea ceremony in a comfortable environment. After the ceremony, you’re offered a guided tour of the ancient Shitennō-ji Temple area for an additional fee.

What you’ll see: An intimate side of Japan featuring authentic tea ceremony and ancient temples.

Sakura Blossoms at a shrine at Shitennōji temple. These temple grounds are included in the tour after the ceremony at Kimono Tea House.

Sakura Blossoms at a shrine at Shitennōji temple. These temple grounds are included in the tour after the ceremony at Kimono Tea House.

Price range: $$$  (¥5,500 per person, plus ¥1,500 per person for temple visit)

Go for: Matcha, Kimonos, and Culture

Open: Daily 10:30am – 3:00pm (reservation required)

Web: http://www.kimonoteahouse.com

Address: Not publicly available

Victoria garafola

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