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Japan: Shibuya (Cha Cha no Ma Teahouse)

I enjoy writing about Shibuya, one of Tokyo’s most colorful and busiest districts. It offers countless shops, restaurants and nightclubs serving swarms of visitors that pack the district each and every day and now there is one other establishment worth writing about, the Cha Cha No Ma Teahouse, the brainchild of Japanese tea expert Yoshi Watada.

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Cha Cha No Ma is a beautifully simple Japanese teahouse located between Omotesando and Harajuku offering an extensive menu of 40 different types of Japanese teas. Yoshi san, a tea sommelier will prepare and serve the tea to his clientele personally. It is said that Yoshi san decided to dedicate his life to tea studies after personally experiencing the benefits of drinking an abundance of green tea. Chacha No Ma is the result of his life’s obsession.

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Iced tea served in the hot summer months

Iced tea served in the hot summer months

For those fortunate enough to be fluent in Japanese, tea seminars are held at the teahouse on a regular basis. For those who do not speak Japanese, Yoshi san is able to explain the differences in the teas in English, helping you to have a better understanding of the product you are consuming. Green tea is highly regarded in Japan and its proper preparation is considered an art form.

Teas for sale

Teas for sale

If you are unsure of which tea to choose, Yoshi san will assist you in making your selection. Once you have made your selection, you will begin by chewing on a few tea leaves so that you can experience the raw flavor of the dried leaves. Afterwards, you will be served 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. It is really 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 that can be done in a hurry.

Cha Cha No Ma also offers an amazing array of delicious Japanese desserts to enjoy with your tea. The Japanese style parfait served with Azuki beans and mochi is very popular as is the ice cream which comes in traditional Japanese flavors of maccha and black sesame as well as vanilla. I prefer the warabi mocha, a jelly like confection made from starch and covered or dipped in kinako (sweet toasted soybean flour). It goes very well with tea. If you are unfamiliar with Japanese desserts, this is a good place to gain an understanding.

Japanese parfait

Japanese parfait

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Stamina curry

Stamina curry

Stir fried spicy pork

Stir fried spicy pork

The teahouse also offers a healthy lunch menu with a signature ten vegetable miso soup. Lunch is served from 11:00 AM – 2:30 PM.

Address: 5-3-14 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo

Tel: 03-5468-8846

Hours: Tue-Sun, 11 AM – 7 PM

Web page: http://www.chachanoma.com/index.html

 

 

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