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.
If you have longer to spend in Japan, you can expand this itinerary to any length you wish.
- We have a 7-day itinerary and a 2-week Japan itinerary so you can choose which length of trip suits you best.
- If you will only be visiting Tokyo, here’s a shortened 3-day itinerary for Tokyo.
- Want to add more days outside of Tokyo? Here’s a 3-day Kyoto itinerary and a 2-day Osaka itinerary.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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Laura Lynch, creator and writer of Savored Journeys, is an avid world traveler, certified wine expert, and international food specialist. She has written about travel and food for over 20 years and has visited 70+ countries.
7 thoughts on “Experience a Tea Ceremony in Tokyo at Hamarikyu Gardens”
Love the idea of a diy Tea cermony, Pinning this so I can take the family here sometime soon!
That’s great, Priya! I think you’ll love it.
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.
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.
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!
I’m glad we could help, Edna. We had the same problem when we were looking into it.
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