- Rakuutei: a convenient yet traditional experience
- Shoutentei: for those on the go
- Something for everyone
Rakuutei: a convenient yet traditional experience
If you are looking for a traditional Japanese tea-drinking experience but don’t have time or the budget for a formal one, Rakuutei is an excellent option. To find Rakuutei within the seemingly endless greenery of Shinjuku Gyoen, just follow the numerous wayfinding signs while enjoying the sights and sounds of the park along the way.
Once you arrive at the teahouse, don’t be intimidated by the not-so-traditional vending machine that stands between you and a fresh bowl of delicious green tea. Entering Rakuutei is actually deceptively simple. Insert 700 yen into the machine and the button for the only option available, a tea and desert set, will light up. Press the button, take your ticket, open the sliding wooden doors, and head right in.
You’ll immediately be greeted by a kimono-clad server who will guide you to your seat. Although the tea and sweets are traditional, the experience is meant to be very tourist-friendly. So, you don’t have to worry about removing your shoes or participating in organized, formal procedures. That being said, it’s a good idea to be quiet, reverent, and slowly savor the experience.
Although there is no English guidance for what to do, the process is pretty simple. First, you’ll receive a small Japanese dessert to prepare your palate for the relative bitterness of the tea. A few minutes later, you’ll receive your bowl of tea. After that, simply enjoy the experience for as long as you like. You’ll find the fresh green tea to be a perfect match with the light, mildly sweet seasonal dessert.
Although the experience isn’t formal, taking a pause in your day to enjoy some freshly prepared green tea is the perfect way to get a quick taste of Japanese culinary culture.
Shoutentei: for those on the go
If you need a quick pick-me-up after exploring the vast reaches of Shinjuku Gyoen, then Shoutentei is the perfect place for a break. Shoutentei offers a more affordable, modern take on tea with the kind of drinks that you may find at a local coffee shop (e.g. hot/cold green tea lattes).
Something for everyone
The next time you find yourself exploring Shinjuku Gyoen, a place that demands multiple visits, don’t overlook its teahouses. Whether you are looking for a slice of traditional Japan or a quick and casual recharge, you’ll find what you need at Rakuutei and Shoutentei.
For smartphone users, please click the link below to go to the Tadaima Japan website which includes additional location details: