For All the Tea in Kyoto: A Guide


The best places to sip tea in the city.

The city is home to Japan’s oldest tea companies and is the heart of its tea culture. Here are five lovely ways to experience it.

Three-century-old Ippodo is an institution. It’s a full-service green tea shop with a spacious tearoom that allows visitors a hands-on experience in brewing techniques. Teramachi-dori Nijo, Nakagyo-ku;

Known for serving its green tea cold and sweet, Tsujiri is also famous for its green tea desserts. Notably, its Tsujiri parfait, a towering dish of matcha eight ways—cake, jelly, ice cream... If short on time, there’s soft-serve matcha to go. 573-3 Gionmachi Minami-gawa, Higashiyama-ku;

For green tea aficionados, this tea salon in Nichinichi art gallery delivers. Visitors can choose from small-batch green teas. And in the showroom, which exhibits fine crafts, there are quite rare green teas to bring home. 298 Shintomi-cho, Kamigyo-ku;

Motoan Tea House
The courtyard teahouse was founded by 17th-century Uji tea purveyor Marukyu- Koyamaen. Uji tea (named for where it’s from) is world-class. When green tea first arrived from China, in the 700s, it was cultivated in Uji. Pour over rice to try a dish called ochazukeOike-Kudaru Nishitoin-dori, Naka- gyo-ku;

Zen Café
Zen Café is a contemporary space opened by Kagizen, a 300-year-old confectionery. The interior is modern, as is the green tea—here you can have it roasted (with Kagizen sweets, of course). Beer and juice can also be ordered. 570-210 Gionmachi Minami-gawa, Higashiyama-ku;