10 Teahouses in Kanazawa's Teahouse District For a Delicious Wind Down

Kanazawa City in Ishikawa Prefecture is home to many traditional teahouses, and around two thirds of these buildings still retain their traditional architecture. Here is an introduction to some of the best teahouses amongst the bountiful charms of these retro districts.

Kanazawa

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6 Teahouses That Also Sell Great Souvenirs

1. Fumuro Chaya

At Fumuro Chaya, you can enjoy unique confections made with "fu" (dried wheat gluten), as well as light meals and snacks. Dig into some shaved ice in the summer, or miso soup and sweet red bean soup in the winter. The goshiki soup with grilled rice cakes and the "fu somen" (thin noodles) are also sure to satisfy.

Fumuro Chaya offers fu and other Japanese cuisine for you to enjoy with your tea. The 'Kanazawa Tori-fu' uses small pieces of fu in the shape of flowers. Adding this little flourish to an everyday dish can make it feel all the more special. 

2. Hakuichi - Higashiyama Branch

Hakuichi's Higashiyama branch has become quite famous due to their TV appearances and other media featuring their gold leaf ice cream. The ice cream is representative of the confectionary scene in Kanazawa, so much so that celebrities often pop by. They also sell other products including cosmetics and alcoholic drinks.

3. Kanazawa Higashiyama Shitsurae

Kanazawa Higashiyama Shitsurae lets you get hands-on with some traditional Japanese crafts. In every room, there are exhibits of traditional crafts such as Kutani porcelain and Wajima lacquerware. In regular museums you can only see the exhibited object in glass casings, however, because these artefacts are out in the open, you can experience them up close.

At the Japanese cafe on the second floor known as Café Yanagi-An, you can enjoy some light meals and snacks. The cafe also has a view of the central courtyard, so you can relax and unwind while enjoying the culinary delights of Japan's four seasons. 

4. Kaikaro

The building that houses Kaikaro was built 200 years ago and has been designated as a preserved landmark by Kanazawa City. To this day, unfamiliar visitors are not allowed entry to this teahouse in the evening, so you can only peruse its interior during the afternoon. You can also purchase cosmetics adorned with gold leafing here, beloved by geisha. 

Kaikaro is known for its unique golden Japanese arrowroot dish. The special arrowroot is steeped in brown sugar syrup, so that your whole mouth is filled with a gentle sweetness when you take a bite. Give it a try to take a luxurious break after exploring this treasured building!

5. KAGA Rakugan Sabon [CLOSED]

※Permanently Closed

The adorable soap at KAGA Rakugan Sabon has recently become popular on Japanese social media. They come in 5 shapes, all related to Kanazawa, such as cherry blossoms, chrysanthemums, autumn foliage, and marsh grass. These adorable soaps make a perfect gift for a special someone or a souvenir for friends from your trip.

 

A dish known as Bero Bero Kinpaku has long been appreciated by locals and is eaten around the New Year season and on holidays for good luck. You can get your hands on this dish at Kaga Rakugan Sabon for a traditional taste of Kanazawa.

6. Kanazawa Bikazari Asano

You can get your hands on some traditional Japanese crafts at Kanazawa Bikazari Asano. There are 36 different types of craft pieces available here, and many of these pieces can be used in everyday life. There are also gold-leaf cosmetics available, so you can bring them home and try a home spa experience.

On the second floor, you can experience working with gold leaf yourself. Pick your favorite product to make, such as a small mirror or jewelry box, and simply attach some gold leaves. Non-Japanese customers are welcomed, and children are admitted with a guardian. You can take home your completed gold leaf piece the same day, so it is sure to become a wonderful memory of your visit. 

Top 4 Teahouses with a View

1. Ochaya Shima

If you make the trip to Kanazawa's teahouse district, it is highly recommended that you pay a visit to Ochaya Shima. It is a Nationally Designated Important Cultural Property and you can still experience the atmosphere of the Edo era as you enter the building. The second floor was installed with a space for art displays as a thank you for visitors.  

Once you have experienced the building, you can have some green tea with seasonal Japanese sweets. The sweets are lauded for their flavor and many people come from outside of the prefecture in order to taste the confectionary here. This is a great place to experience its unique Edo atmosphere with some Japanese sweets.

2. Hana no Yado

Hana no Yado boasts over 200 years of history. During the afternoon, it functions as a coffee shop for the public, and in the evening, geisha entertain invited guests. A historical atmosphere still permeates throughout Hana no Yado, waiting for customers to come and experience it. 

 

At night-time, Hana no Yado also operates as a teahouse where you can enjoy a cup of green tea with some Japanese sweets for an affordable 500 yen. Not only that, they also offer coffee and carbonated drinks, so you don't need to worry about your kids getting fussy if they don't enjoy the bitterness of the green tea.

 

3. Amanatto Kawamura

The popular Amanatto Kawamura leverages the best seasonal ingredients to create its signature amanatto (sugared red beans). This teahouse was originally frequented by geisha who would give their wares to customers as a form of souvenir. Today, anyone can come here to purchase gifts and souvenirs from Kanazawa. This is the only store in Japan that specializes in amanatto! 

Amanatto also sells seasonal limited-edition products, with seasonal motifs. In spring, which is exam season for Japanese students, they offer products that pray for success in exams and in the summer, visitors can enjoy yokan (a jelly dessert with red-bean paste), a traditional summer dessert. Everything here is hand-made to ensure the taste and quality, so this shop only accepts customers with reservations. If you have never tried amanatto before, this is the place to do it.

4. Hayuwa

Hayuwa uses its prized matcha to make their sweets and parfaits. The teahouse, which is written in kanji characters that mean 'wave' and 'tie', takes its name from its history as a hair salon frequented by geisha. Wave refers to a particular Japanese hairstyle, and tie refers to the signature way in which the hair of geisha are tied. You can gaze down at the main street here while enjoying your delightful sweets.

The shaved ice sold in the summer comes highly recommended. If you are visiting in another season, the matcha parfait elegantly garnished with rice flour dumplings, matcha cake, and ice cream is also a mouthwatering dessert. 

Experience History at the Kanazawa Teahouse District

In these popular districts of Kanazawa, the richness of the historical buildings provides a valuable opportunity for visitors to experience history. If you venture inside, you can enjoy their interiors, and many teahouses still allow visitors to relish a spot of tea with some Japanese sweets. In some teahouses, geisha even perform songs and dances for customers. After a tiring day of sightseeing, take a leisurely stroll in the teahouse districts of Kanazawa and unwind with some tea and sweets!

 

Header Image: gandhi / PIXTA


Translated and republished with permission from: SPIRA (formerly known as Relux Magazine)

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The information in this article is accurate at the time of publication.

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