Drinking Japanese Green Tea at Hamarikyu Gardens

Tokyo Bay waterfront
Walking past the Tokyo Bay waterfront to get to the park

I actually planned on visiting the famous Tsukiji fish market but it turned out to be closed today for some or another reason. Not wanting the trip to be a waste I went to Hamarikyu Gardens just around the corner from the market.

Hamarikyu means detached palace on the coast, I guess it got this name because it is on the Tokyo Bay waterfront. The garden is surrounded by high-rise buildings of Shiodome business area, a big contrast between the old and the new is clearly visible here.

This massive garden was once part of a shogun’s villa and even the two ponds in the park were originally there. The ponds were used for wild-duck hunting in the shogun’s time.

One of the pods in the middle of the park
One of the pods in the middle of the park with the modern city as a back drop

One of these ponds is the only tidal pool in Tokyo. It has a lock that controls seawater entering from Tokyo Bay. In the middle of this tidal pool is an island with a restored tea-house  This tea-house was definitely the highlight of my morning visit to the park.

The tea-house in the middle of the tidal pool!!
The tea-house in the middle of the tidal pool!!
The tea-house is situated on a small island
The tea-house is situated on a small island

I crossed beautiful wooden bridges to get to the teahouse and was quite relieved when they had English menus. Even the hostess could speak a bit of English and helped me with my green tea order. Here I got to enjoy lovely Japanese green tea with some kind of sweet cake that they served with it. They supplied me with an English instruction leaflet on how to drink the tea and eat the cake.

I love these little rituals that the Japanese have when doing things like drinking tea.

My Green Tea, Sweet cake and the instruction leaflet
My Green Tea, Sweet cake and the instruction leaflet
The sweet cake with my wooden "cutter"
The sweet cake with my wooden “cutter”

I followed all the instructions to the letter and enjoyed it immensely! I had to place the cake on my left hand, cut it into pieces with the wooden “cutter” using my right hand then poke and eat them piece by piece.

Next was the tea drinking instructions. Who would have thought there is a correct side to drink from a round cup?

I had to pick up the tea bowl with my right hand then place it in my left hand. I was then instructed to turn the bowl clockwise twice (180 degrees). It said I had to finish my tea in 3-4 sips but it was a bit strong so I took a bit longer to drink it than instructed.

I got to sit on the tea-house deck looking out over this picturesque Japanese garden while drinking my green tea!!

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