Experience a Tea Ceremony in Tokyo at Hamarikyu Gardens

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Many travelers want to join in a tea ceremony when traveling to Japan. It’s a cultural activity that is both educational and fascinating. We found the informal tea ceremony at Hamarikyu Gardens to be the perfect opportunity to learn about the tea ceremony, without the time and expensive of a full tea ceremony.

If you’d like to join in a tea ceremony in Tokyo, there are several options, though many last several hours, you have to book in advance, and they cost around $55! If you haven’t planned ahead, or don’t wish to spend that much, you can join in the informal tea ceremony at Hamarikyu Gardens whenever you want.

Hamarikyu Tea House
Entrance to the tea house at Hamarikyu Gardens (Photo by Savored Journeys)

Japan Itineraries

If you have longer to spend in Japan, you can expand this itinerary to any length you wish.

Informal Tea Ceremony in Tokyo

The informal tea ceremony at Hamarikyu Gardens in Tokyo takes place every day, practically all day long at the adorable little tea house. The beautifully landscaped gardens surround Shioiri Pond, where the Hamarikyu gardens tea house can be found.

We recommend adding a stroll around the gardens to your itinerary. It’s a gorgeous respite from the bustling city. If you’re following our 3-day foodie itinerary of Tokyo, this is a stop along the way from Tsukiji market to Asakusa.

Hamarikyu Tea House
The tea house at Hamarikyu Gardens (Photo by Savored Journeys)

After a little walk through the Hamarikyu gardens, you can stop off at the tea house. If it’s a hot day when you’re visiting, like it was for us, you’ll be happy to find that the little tea house is air conditioned inside (despite the sides of the house being wide open to the outdoors so you could walk around).

We paid the fee of 510 yen ($4.60 subject to change) for a cup of tea and a confection, called a wagashi, which has a special and traditional meaning in a Japanese tea ceremony. (Note that it also costs 300 yen to get into the park itself.) We were also given an instruction sheet. Then we took off our shoes and found ourselves a seat in the tea room.

Hamarikyu Tea House - Nick and Laura
Enjoying our tea ceremony in Tokyo (Photo by Savored Journeys)

Keep in mind that this tea ceremony differs from a real ceremony in that it’s a sort of “do-it-yourself” version. The sheet they gave us was so that we could walk ourselves through the process that would take place at a traditional ceremony – one that would last a full day and consist of many steps and procedures that are very important and carry special cultural meaning.

Hamarikyu Tea House menu
Instructions for how to properly enjoy the tea ceremony on your own (Photo by Savored Journeys)

At the Hamarikyu Gardens tea ceremony, things are done a little differently. You are free to read through the steps yourself. The process involved eating the sweet, performing the ritual steps for drinking the tea, and being thankful for the tea and the preparation of it.

tea at Hamarikyu Tea House
Matcha tea and sweets (Photo by Savored Journeys)

Although it wasn’t a performed ceremony, we had a fun time and enjoyed the setting of the tea house in the beautiful Hamarikyu Gardens. As it turned out, we were able to participate in a longer, more educational ceremony in Kyoto later in our trip that was a good supplement to this one.

I really don’t think sitting through a longer ceremony is necessary to appreciate the reason for it and the tradition behind it. This informal setting was actually a perfect way for tourists to experience a tea ceremony in Tokyo.

Hamarikyu Tea House
Nick properly drinking his tea (Photo by Savored Journeys)

If you’re in Tokyo and looking for a tea ceremony in Tokyo that you can add to your schedule that doesn’t require you to spend a lot and lets you maintain flexibility, this is a great option! It’s really easy to get to, as well. 

Hamarikyu is a 10-15 minute walk from JR Shimbashi Station or a 5-10 minute walk from Shiodome Station, or as already mentioned – just a few minutes walk from Tsukiji Market. If you have more time in Tokyo and are looking for other things to do, why not take a tour of Tsukiji Market or go on an izakaya tour!

On a side note, if you’re going to be visiting other areas of Japan besides Tokyo, I strongly recommend looking into buying a Japan Railpass before you leave home. They’re available only to tourists, so have to be purchased from home in advance of your trip.

But if you’re going to visit at least two destinations in Japan (like Osaka, Kyoto, etc), you will save significant money with the railpass over buying separate tickets. Travel in Japan is expensive. Why not do yourself a favor and save a little money.

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Want to experience a Japanese tea ceremony? Try this informal one in Hamarikyu Gardens in Tokyo
Want to experience a Japanese tea ceremony? Try this informal one in Hamarikyu Gardens in Tokyo
Experience a Tea Ceremony in Tokyo at Hamarikyu Gardens

7 thoughts on “Experience a Tea Ceremony in Tokyo at Hamarikyu Gardens

  1. priya ramachandran says:

    Love the idea of a diy Tea cermony, Pinning this so I can take the family here sometime soon!

  2. Rosanna Barton says:

    We loved reading about your experience with this tea ceremony in these beautiful gardens. We will do this one too. Can you tell me if they have stools or seats for us that cant knee as I have just had a total knee replacement and kneeling is not an option for me at the moment. I sure hope so as I don’t want this to be a problem stopping my from joining in. My husband and sister can do the kneeling but I cant. Once again thank you for your helpful information. Much appreciated.

    • Laura Lynch says:

      Thanks Rosanna. It’s a fun and light introduction to tea ceremonies. We also loved the walk through the gardens. Unfortunately I don’t remember seeing any stools or chairs available. You can always stand though. Because you do the ceremony all yourself, with no intervention for staff, you can do it at your own pace, so you don’t have to be seated/standing for too long.

  3. Edna Podell says:

    Thanks so much for the info and pictures. I have been looking all over the interwebs for details on this tea house and yours is the only post/onfo I’ve seen with pics and more to say then “There’s a cute tea house in Hamarikyu. You should go.” Very helpful. I appreciate it!

  4. Pingback: 21 Top Foodie Destinations Around the World | Savored Journeys

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