Rather than leave you hanging while I unscramble my brain, I just have to share this truly wonderful tea house in Tokyo called Baishinka. This place is so wonderful I think I'm still basking in the afterglow more than a week later. Mixing old and new in terms of both the space and dining experience, a distinctly Japanese note remains a constant- and what a wonderfully sweet and delicious note it is.
Operated by Simplicity, this tea house is located quite far out of downtown Tokyo. I needed to make a special trip out there but it was certainly worthwhile. Sitting in a walled enclosure, the renovated traditional house is entered via a courtyard garden. Inside, I was greeted display bench presenting exquisitely beautiful wagashi (Japanese sweets).
The tea house itself sits in a separate room. Every moment of the experience is carried out with care and gentle attention; being lead into the tea room, selecting the sweets which are personally presented in bamboo baskets, selecting the tea and of course, the preparation of the tea.
I was seated directly in front of the preparation area and was entranced by the choreography of moving hands, tea cups, ladles, whisks and hot water. Of course, every dish and utensil was oozing with a refined, contemporary wabi sabi aesthetic. To finish, I was served complimentary baked brown sugar chips and roasted tea. Delicious.
I had planned to photograph the courtyard on the way out, but the staff walked me to the door, smiling and waving enthusiastically until I was completely out of sight. Seriously, how could I walk away and not completely love the place? It was absolutely memorable.
* Warning! If you're planning to go, make sure you screen grab every resource possible to show you the location. As with a lot of places in Tokyo, it's a little tricky to find!
Photos by me.