4 Tea Hotels in Tokyo Offering a Refined Japanese Tea Room Experience
In this article, we will introduce four tea room themed ryokan (traditional Japanese inns) in Tokyo. They range from affordable hostels and capsule hotels to luxury inns. Regardless of price, they all skillfully integrate the four principles of chado (Japanese tea ceremony) - harmony, respect, purity, and tranquility - into their interior design and hospitality. Japanese chado is counted as one of the three classical arts of refinement in Japan along with kado (flower arrangement) and shodo (calligraphy), so these ryokan provide the perfect opportunity to immerse yourself in Japanese culture as well as Zen philosophy and aesthetics.
Jan 21 2020 (Jan 22 2020)
cyashitsu ryokan asakusa [Asakusa]
There is a saying in Japanese chado, “ichi-go ichi-e”, which means that any gathering in a quiet and elegant place is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that will never be replicated, so people should cherish the moment and respect each other.
Opened in July 2019, Cya Shitsu Ryokan Asakusa is tucked away in an alley in Oku Asakusa, an area north of Senso-ji Temple that preserves the atmosphere of the old days. The innkeeper who lives alone here follows the chado spirit to serve guests with all his heart.
Each element of this ryokan works to transform it into a hideaway in the city center, from the tea room at the entrance to the reception area where guests can enjoy a foot bath and the gate door with a small crawl-in entrance. From the moment you step inside, you'll feel your body and mind entering a state of calmness as you slip away from the everyday to somewhere extraordinary.
The innovative amenities that it offers embody the essence of chado while reflecting a blend of traditional culture and modern aesthetics. On the top floor, there is even an open-air bath that overlooks the Tokyo Skytree where guests can enjoy the view of Asakusa at night.
Guests can enjoy a choice of a Western breakfast or a Japanese breakfast complete with three dishes, soup, and rice, served either in your room or in the dining area on the first floor.
There are ten guest rooms, each with a different style to choose from, all of which have tatami mat floors. Everything inside is a perfect incarnation of Japanese living room culture, including the sliding doors made with handmade Japanese paper, the seasonal floral ornaments, the courtyard that seamlessly unites nature with architecture, and the folding screen before the brazier and bamboo blinds that are essential elements of a traditional tea room.
Just like how humankind's first experience of safety and security was inside the womb, the ceiling here is deliberately lower than usual to evoke a feeling of calm by minimizing the empty space.
The time you spend here will become a wonderful part of your journey. If you think a ryokan is more than just a place of rest - that it can also be a place where you can create unique memories and experience unexpected encounters - this is the ideal choice.
Khaosan Tokyo Samurai [Asakusa]
Around 10 minutes from popular Tokyo sightseeing destinations Senso-ji Temple and Kaminarimon Gate stands a simple capsule ryokan called Khaosan Tokyo Samurai. The tea room themed ryokan is located on Kokusai Street. By integrating the refinement of chado into its interior design, Khaosan Tokyo Samurai breaks away from the cheap and plain image of common capsule hotels. Even if you're on a limited budget, here you can enjoy a comfortable ryokan experience in this otherwise costly city.
In the common area, there is a Japanese-style tatami-matted common space for guests to talk about their travel experiences in a comfortable atmosphere. The small shared kitchen is open 24/7, so you can cook food bought from the convenience stores and supermarkets located a 3-5 minute walk from the hotel. There are a lot of izakaya (Japanese-style pubs) nearby as well. On the roof, there is an outdoor terrace where you can take in the city scenery both day and night.
The overall design of Khaosan Tokyo Samurai closely adheres to the chado concept. Each floor has its own unique theme while still sharing a common style. For example, door curtains in deep brown or matcha green are used to categorize different areas. The ryokan mainly offers dormitory-style bunk beds divided into mixed gender and female-only rooms. Bathrooms are mostly shared between guests, but some rooms come equipped with a private bathroom.
Every detail of the space is carefully designed to cater to the guests’ needs, from compact yet comfy beds and compartments adorned with tile-textured walls down to lockable cabinets, reading lights, coat hooks, and shelves. Whether you're a backpacker, office worker, a student, or just traveling with friends, you can rest and relax in this refined environment at a reasonable price.
hotel zen tokyo [Ningyo-cho]
Created by Japanese architect Kagami Taro, Hotel Zen Tokyo is a capsule hotel following the concept of “Zen x Minimalism”. Its design is based on the blueprints of Tai-an Chashitsu, a National Treasure and the only remaining teahouse built by Japanese chado master Sen no Rikyu in the 16th century. Through a new 21st century interpretation, this “livable tea room” was born. Situated in downtown Ningyo-cho, Hotel Zen Tokyo is conveniently located just a minute's walk from the Tokyo Metro Ningyocho Station.
Hotel Zen Tokyo’s Bar‧Lounge TAIAN is a collaboration between professionals from the Japanese fashion, art, and food industries, and is open to both hotel guests and the general public. Inside the bar lounge, the modern-traditional “iron tea room” is particularly worth visiting. When night falls, you might want to go there to relax and taste some of the craft beer, sake, Japanese liquor, and fine wines carefully curated by the sommeliers.
The hotel provides a total of 78 rooms on 7 floors, offering 5 kinds of capsule pods: the standard pod, superior pod, tatami pod, and 2 types of more spacious pods. Each pod has an over-two-meter-high ceiling, so unlike some other capsule hotels, you won't feel cramped for space.
To fully pass on Japan’s wonderful traditions to future generations, Hotel Zen Tokyo displays its ingenuity in the design of its common areas and the capsule rooms. There is a unique piece of Japanese artwork from the Tokyo University of the Arts on the wall of each pod. In this lodging where Japanese traditional culture meets modernity, travelers are given a chance to thoroughly immerse themselves in the local culture.
HOTEL 1899 TOKYO [Shinbashi]
As a long-established enterprise in the hotel, restaurant, and real estate industries, Ryumeikan has been building its brand based on the concept of “enjoying a peaceful moment over tea”. In 2018, Ryumeikan opened Hotel 1899 Tokyo, a new tea-centric boutique hotel in Shinbashi. The "1899" in the hotel’s name refers to the year Ryumeikan was founded.
One thing worth noting is the Deli & Bar dining area on the first floor. Its wooden decor adds a calming atmosphere to the space. Hotel guests can feast on the breakfast buffet here and enjoy set meals or a la carte dishes for lunch and dinner. For drinks, we recommend the Tea Bar's bottomless Japanese tea package with 3 types of cold tea and 8 types of hot tea to choose from. If you'd like something stronger, the chilled matcha beer is a must-try!
On the second floor, there is a reception hall where guests can watch a tea master’s process of making tea and taste it for themselves afterwards.
The hotel has four types of accommodations, all of which are available either as double or twin rooms. The matcha green chosen for the color scheme creates a traditional environment that reflects Japanese chado’s aesthetics and culture. Some rooms even feature an engawa* design on the edge of the bed, allowing you to gaze over the city through the windows when you wake up in the morning.
* Engawa: A roofed veranda that connects the inside of the house to a backyard in traditional Japanese architecture.
Next to the bed, there is a lamp shaped like a matcha whisk. You can adjust the color temperature, from white to yellow, to your liking. Every detail shows the effort the hotel has put into creating a tea room experience. This serene space is a perfect place to enjoy some rest and relaxation.
Tranquil Accommodation in Tokyo
This article has introduced some tranquil tea room themed ryokan in Tokyo, an ever-changing city full of high-rise buildings. Next time you're in Tokyo, why not treat your mind and body to a stay at one of these refined tea room inspired spaces where you can take the chance to learn about Zen while experiencing the essence of Japanese chado?
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The information in this article is accurate at the time of publication.