Cha Cha no Ma Tea Room, Harajuku
Tucked away on a lane behind the popular Cat Street shopping area in Harajuku is an enticing Japanese tea room called Cha Cha No Ma, which literally means "tea space." It is the perfect place to stop for refreshments and a wonderful Japanese tea experience for visitors to Tokyo.
Yoshi Watada is a tea sommelier and he will prepare and serve the tea to you personally. For non-Japanese speakers, he is able to explain the differences in the teas in English. There are approximately 40 different types of tea on offer and he can help you to decide which variety to try.
Once you have made your selection, Yoshi will begin by bringing you a few of the tea leaves to chew so that you can experience the raw flavor of the dried leaves. The tea is presented with a decorative information card explaining the tea you have chosen.
He will then serve your first steeping of the tea. This has quite a rich flavor and is the most concentrated form. Your second steeping is more akin to the usual cup of tea and very refreshing. We found it fascinating to note how the flavor of the same tea leaves changes over the course of the different steepings.
Subsequent steepings may be made according the tea you have chosen. Finally, the tea is brought out in a full pot for you to savor and enjoy. Be sure to allow plenty of time for your visit, as this is not something to be done in a hurry!
Cha Cha no Ma serves an exciting array of delicious Japanese desserts to enjoy with your tea. Ice cream flavors include matcha (powdered green tea), black sugar, black sesame and vanilla. My personal favorites are the Japanese-style parfaits which are piled high with azuki beans, mochi (sweet, sticky rice balls), ice cream and a smattering of crunchy tea leaves! I also recommend the warabi mochi, a popular Japanese sweet dipped in sweet soy bean flour, which goes very well with tea. If you are new to the world of Japanese desserts then this is a great place to start.
In addition to tea and sweets, there is a healthy lunch menu including the shop’s signature 10 vegetable miso soup. Lunch is served from 11 a.m. until 2:30 p.m.
Address: 5-3-14 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
Open: Tue-Sun, 11 a.m.–7 p.m.