17 Bubble Tea Shops + Tapioca Desserts to Try in Tokyo
Bubble tea - milk tea with tapioca pearls inside - is a popular Taiwanese drink that's become hugely popular on a global scale. Not only does it come in various flavors, shapes, and designs, it's customizable, too! If you want to try it while you're in Tokyo, or you're craving it during your travels, you'll want to check out this list to see what kind of options are out there!
Apr 02 2019 (Apr 15 2020)
Regardless of whether you call it tapioca milk tea, bubble tea, pearl milk, or boba, without a doubt, this Taiwanese drink has taken the world by storm, and Japan is no exception! Within just the last few years, Japan has been riding a huge tapioca wave, with bubble tea shops popping up left and right. You can even find them at all convenience stores, making it easy to grab and go whenever you're feel the itch!
More and more famous tea shops from around the world have been entering the Japanese market, and some new Japanese brands have also made an appearance, too. Check out these bubble tea shops in Tokyo, as well as some tapioca desserts that have joined the scene here in Japan!
Chun Shui Tang LUMINE EST Shinjuku Branch
Chun Shui Tang is known as the birthplace of the globally popularized Taiwanese-style bubble milk tea. With 45 branches within Taiwan itself, it goes without saying that this shop has made a name for itself and is exceptionally popular. There are also seasonal specials, like the strawberry milk tea and sakura milk tea during the spring season. The sakura milk tea is only available in Japan, so it's definitely worth a visit to see what they have on offer at the Japan stores!
From their original tapioca milk tea to their tapioca jasmine tea, the tapioca drinks here are made with all natural tea leaves and no additional flavorings, so you can really savor the original flavor of the tea. They also have an extensive food menu, so you can try out some Taiwanese dishes while you're at it! You can even order a meal, milk tea, and some dessert (with tapioca, of course) for a full feast!
THE ALLEY LUJIAOXIANG Shibuya Branch
THE ALLEY is an internationally established Taiwanese tea stand that can be recognized by its deer logo. Their tapioca, dubbed the name "deerioca," is all made fresh by hand, so you can enjoy their unique and premium chewy texture and fragrance. They also use the highest quality of sugar to make their own sugar cane syrup, which has a natural and delicate flavor.
One of their most popular drinks is the "BONSAI" Garden Milk Tea (M 550 yen, L 650 yen) - Assam milk tea topped with chocolate biscuit crumbles and a mint leaf to look like a bonsai garden! You can add tapioca pearls for an extra 50 yen.
Other recommended drinks are THE ALLEY Trio Milk Tea, the Royal No. 9 Tapioca Milk Tea, the Brown Sugar Tapioca, and the Aurora Drink Series (Northern Lights and Morning Sunshine).
KOI Thé Omotesando Branch
KOI Thé is a tea shop specializing in drinks that are made using the finest quality of fresh tea leaves from Taiwan. They're known for using all natural golden pearls that are so fresh that they have to be used within 2 hours.
In addition to the classic bubble teas, they have many other options like Pudding Milk Tea, Ice Cream Milk Tea, Mango Yakult Juice, Matcha Macchiato, and so on. This is the only KOI Thé location in the Tokyo area, so make sure to stop by Omotesando to try their golden bubbles!
Sin an ju Harajuku Branch
Easily distinguished by their seahorse logo, this Taiwanese tea shop has an incredibly diverse menu including milk tea options like the standard Brown Sugar Bubble Milk (540 yen), Tapioca Strawberry Milk (630 yen), and Tapioca Black Sesame Milk (630 yen), as well as straight tea options such as Assam Tea (350 yen) and Roasted Green Tea (350 yen).
They also have unique selections like the Blue Lagoon (600 yen) pictured above; it changes color the more you mix, so you'll really enjoy both its taste and appearance! There's also COW COW Jelly (580 yen), rich and premium milk poured over sweet, brown sugar jelly, and First Love (450 yen) with tart, heart-shaped pieces of strawberry and strawberry sauce added into apple peach tea. All their drinks are customizable, so you can change any drink up however you like!
comma tea Aoyama Omotesando Branch
Located a 4-minute walk from Omotesando Station, this Japanese tea stand specializes in black tea, so you'll be able to clearly taste the distinct flavors of black tea in their drinks. Their concept is based on adding a small "comma" into your busy everyday lives to relax with a cup of tea. For their standard bubble teas, you can choose from 3 different selections of teas: Blend Milk Tea (600 yen), Assam Milk Tea (550 yen), and Oolong Milk Tea (550 yen). There's also the Uji Matcha Latte, with a choice of either regular tapioca or brown sugar tapioca.
One of their top recommendations is Bruleed Brown Sugar Latte (650 yen), which has a layer of creamy milk foam that's been bruleed lightly on top. There are also cheese teas, herb sodas, and straight teas. You can adjust the sweetness, size, and amount of ice for many of their drinks, so give it a try!
Gong cha Harajuku Omotesando Branch
Gong Cha is a popular Taiwanese drink franchise, and one of the most famous bubble tea shops around the world. They have successfully expanded internationally into many different countries, with over 1,300 locations! One of the best points about Gong Cha is that their drinks are customizable, so you can create a drink that's perfectly suited to your tastes! You can choose a tea base (black tea, milk tea, etc.) brewed with high-quality tea leaves, pick your choice of toppings (not just limited to tapioca), and also adjust the sweetness and amount of ice.
In addition to their standard lineup of flavored teas, they also over seasonal specials. The spring special this year is strawberry-themed, advertised as Strawberry Black Tea Ade with Basil Seeds, Strawberry Milk Tea with Pearls, and Chocolate Milk Tea with Strawberry Milk Foam. These are, of course, all customizable as well! Try out their seasonal specials before they're gone!
TP TEA NEWoMan Shinjuku Branch
The tea stand TP TEA (Taiwan Professional Tea), whose parent company is the aforementioned Chun Shui Tang. It was established in 2005, when they released many unique drinks such as Taiwan's first tea latte series. Since then, they expanded even further with over 250 locations in Taiwan, and they started opening stores around the world in 2016, with a total of 3 current locations in Japan. One of their most popular drinks is the Tie Guan Yin Tea Latte from the tea latte series, and there are over 50 varieties of tea drinks.
In addition to drinks, they also have food and soft serve ice cream. The Tapioca Matcha Latte (550 yen) is a Japan-exclusive drink, and they have limited edition seasonal items like Tapioca Strawberry Latte (650 yen) and the Tapioca Strawberry Soft Serve (cup 550 yen, cone 570 yen).
Claiming the title of Japan's first Thai tea shop, Piyanee opened its doors in May 2018 in the busy streets of Shibuya. They have a wide range of drinks, all of which can be adjusted between sweet, original, and lightly sweetened. Since they specialize in Thai tea, their most popular drink is their Thai Tea (M 430 yen, L 530 yen), to which you can add tapioca pearls or grass jelly to for an additional 70 yen. You can also enjoy it in the Lemon Pure Thai Tea (M 430 yen, L 530 yen) or the Tapioca Thai Tea Frappe (M 600 yen).
They have other options, including drinks like Tapioca Matcha Frappe (630 yen), Strawberry Milk Frappe (M 630 yen), and Tapioca Matcha (M 550 yen, L 650 yen). The Rose Lychee Soda or Oolong Lychee (M 550 yen, L 650 yen) might intrigue you with the large pieces of lychee toppings!
Chatime Ginza Branch
Established in 2005 in Taiwan, Chatime is one of the biggest tea franchises in the world with over 1,000 stores spread across 80 cities worldwide. They pride themselves in high-quality tea drinks, which is backed up by the "Brand of the Year" award they received in 2015 from the World Branding Awards in London; they were chosen out of over 2,500 brands from 35 countries, and are the first Taiwanese brand to be honored with this title!
You can choose from a variety of toppings, including pearls, sweet red beans, coconut jelly, grass jelly, and QQ (pearl and coconut jelly). Try one of their many QQ drinks for a mix of different textures and flavors!
CoCo Fresh Tea & Juice Harajuku Branch
A global bubble tea franchise from Taiwan with over 20 years in business, and one of the leading brands with over 2,000 store locations worldwide. Their tapioca pearls in all the global stores are made using the same recipes used in the original stores in Taiwan, so the quality and taste is very consistent.
They have a vast menu that'll make you want to come back to try more! There are also many unique drinks here that can't be found anywhere else, such as the 2 Ladies (Tapioca and Pudding Milk Tea) and the Mango Yogurt. As for toppings, there are 3 options: pearls, pudding, and salty cream!
FORTUNE tea-box is a cheese tea shop that prides itself in its cheese foam drinks. To enjoy this type of drink, they recommend "direct lid style," which is drinking directly from the lid without a straw! This way, you're able to fully enjoy the flavor of the cheese foam, and you'll get a cheese foam mustache, making you feel as if you just had a swig of beer. Feel free to shake it up a bit to mix up the flavors, too.
Everything on their menu can be topped with cheese, such as the Oolong Cheese Tea, Apple Roasted Milk Cheese Tea, Mango Cheese Tea, and so on. You can also ask to switch the cheese foam to soy milk instead!
Pearl Lady Cha Bar Shinjuku Branch
Pearl Lady Cha Bar is a Japanese bubble tea shop that was established in 2009. Their tapioca pearls are made fresh daily without using any preservatives, and you have the choice of either large, small, or brown sugar pearls when you order.
Their drink menu consists of rock salt cream teas, tea lattes, Uji matcha and roasted green tea with milk, fruit foam teas, and tea frappes, and foam teas. They also offer many seasonal specials throughout the year. Currently, there's a range of limited edition drinks made with Nilgiri tea: Berry Black Tea Latte and Berry Black Tea (420 yen each, includes raspberry jam); Rose Black Tea Latte and Rose Black Tea (400 yen each, includes rose jam).
ZJINs Tea sells classic milk teas, fruity drinks, and even cheese teas! The current seasonal fruity drink recommendation is their watermelon smoothie with cheese foam on top; this changes periodically, and there's a board in the back where you can see their best-sellers!
This shop is particularly well-known for being Instagram-worthy, and there's even a photo spot to take pictures of you drinks next to some flamingo props.
Their drinks can easily be distinguished by the cute red and pink splash sticks and drink lids, which make them really easy to drink while walking around the city. Get a hot drink, and it'll come in a lovely cup with a pastel pink design. You can also get a paper doggy bag if you're carrying drinks back to your hotel or office, or even purchase a sturdy plastic bag (500 yen) that'll keep your drinks safe until you reach your destination!
FLIPPER'S Omotesando Branch
FLIPPER'S is a popular eatery especially well-known for their souffle pancakes. Although they specialize in pancake dishes, they've also gained quite a reputation for their bubble tea, which can also be taken out in a plastic bag!
You can choose from three different flavors: milk tea, jasmine milk tea, and peach tea (from 420 yen plus tax). They're great for walking around with to explore the city, but they also look pretty stylish, so you'll want to take a picture while you're at it!
Bull Pulu Shibuya Hikarie Branch
This bubble tea drink stand is located on the 2nd floor of Shibuya Hikarie, which you can access directly from Shibuya Station. The menu is quite simple, with only 3 options available: Brown Sugar Tiger Milk Tea, Brown Sugar Tiger Milk, and Straight Tea.
The shop logo stands out with its vivid green colors, large font, and a cute French bulldog puppy in the center!
Cafe de KAVE
Located in the heart of Tokyo's Koreatown, this cafe was opened and managed by a famous K-pop artist. On top of a variety of cute desserts, they also have trendy merchandise on sale! Their bubble tea drinks also come in tiny little cans.
With its connection to the K-pop world, it's a popular place for all K-pop lovers visiting the area. The drinks come in various flavors, like Cheese Foam Strawberry, Hazelnut Choco, Matcha, and Milk Tea. They're extremely cute, too, so you'll want to come by just to take a snap with one!
Newly opened in March 2019, OCHABA is Japan's first ever bubble tea shop that uses exclusively Japanese tea in its drinks. Their tea leaves are procured from Shizuoka, the tea prefecture of Japan, which are used to make milk tea varieties of green tea, roasted green tea, brown rice tea, and espresso milk tea.
Although they may look like tapioca pearls at first glance, the topping choices here are Japanese sweets such as kuromitsu warabi mochi and shiratama! With OCHABA's milk teas, you'll be able to savor the flavors of Japanese tea and experience an essential and traditional part of Japanese culture!
As bubble tea drinks have achieve wide popularity all over the city, you can even see cafes and shops using tapioca pearls in all kinds of sweets. And, with Japan doing what Japan does best, the creative tapioca products are constantly coming out. A lot of these creations are only offered for a limited time, but here are a few examples out there!
Tapioca Milk Pudding
Tapioca Ice Cream
Keep an eye out for all of these tapioca sweets and drinks! You'll see them all over the city as you wander through the streets, and you'll want to make sure to try some for yourself!
Title Image: littlekop / Shutterstock
The information in this article is accurate at the time of publication.