There are some things that Japan really gets right. Tea is one of those things. Garden landscaping is another. And creating a calm space within a massive busy city is also right up there. Kosoan offers all three.
As we walked up the road from Jiyugoaka Station, past rows of shops and shoppers, we caught sight of the immaculate old Japanese house that you would most likely walk straight past if you didn’t know there was a teahouse inside. There is no English sign, save for a tiny wooden board with the word ‘open’ carved into it. We tiptoed up the path – it’s so quiet! – through the ridiculously pretty garden and gently opened the glass sliding doors. Taking our shoes off at the entrance, we breathed in grassy tatami and then found a spot on the floor around one of the low tables that dot the main tea room.
They have both Japanese and English menus (the latter with pictures for easier ordering) with set choices basically consisting of a hot or cold drink and a sweet treat. We ordered Matcha with Sweet (¥830), which arrived on a black tray, the bitter, creamy green tea served in a large deep bowl. The sweet on the side was a crystallised-sugar azuki bean treat, which cracked pleasantly as we sliced it up with a knife so tiny it is surely meant for dolls. We’d also recommend trying the Anmitsu (¥830), which includes a bowl of sliced fresh fruit with a dollop of ice cream, sweet syrup and a small serving of tea.
Knowing that the space was once someone’s home (in fact, we think the owner still lives there since we mistakenly knocked on the front door and a sweet old lady answered) gives Kosoan a wonderfully authentic feel. Actually, we felt so at home that we have begun to dream up scenarios in which this really is our home. Perhaps if we just return every Sunday afternoon for a cup of frothy matcha tea and gaze wistfully out at the Japanese garden, we can pretend we live here.
1-24-23 Jiyugaoka, Meguro-ku
|Opening hours:||Daily 11.30am-6.30pm|
|Transport:||Jiyugaoka Station (Tokyu Toyoko line)|