Find a little bit of Zen in a tea cup by enjoying one of Kyoto’s many traditional tea houses located in its historic areas of Gion and Higashiyama. The “Way of Tea” is one of Japan’s best known traditional cultural practices, and something everyone should experience in Kyoto. Whether it’s just relaxing with a calming cup of tea, or taking part in a traditional tea ceremony, Kyoto has it all. Here is our guide to some of the best tea houses in Kyoto.
Ran Hotei is a delightful café on the Sanjo-Horikawa Shopping Arcade in downtown Kyoto near Nijo Castle. The café in a traditional Kyoto Machiya Townhouse is run by a Canadian-born tea master and is a great place to experience the Japanese tea ceremony. It features a tatami tea room and Taisho Period (1912-1926) art décor. If the tea ceremony is not for you, just sit back and enjoy the café, which is the perfect place to relax with a hot tea or coffee and some of the best cake in Kyoto.
Camellia offers an authentic Kyoto tea ceremony experience in English in a beautiful traditional house right off Ninen-zaka steps between Gion and the famous Kiyomizu-dera Temple. It is an oasis of peace and quiet from all the tourist hoards in one of Kyoto’s most popular sightseeing areas. The sun-bathed tea room is calm and elegant and the perfect place to relax with some Uji matcha tea and wagashi (traditional confectionary).