Matcha, a particular kind of green tea that is made from fine powder, has become more popular around the world in the recent years. Although it has been a historically popular drink in Japan for centuries, it didn’t mean much to the rest of globe until the last 10 to 15 years. Now, you can see it as an ice cream flavor, a variety of Kit Kat, and a general indication of “Japanese flavor.” Here are four places around the city that specialize in the good green stuff that won’t set you back too badly.
Originally written by Tiffany for Tokyo Cheapo
If you’re a green tea lover, of course you’d want to drink some good, authentic matcha when you visit Tokyo! While you can easily find a matcha latte in most coffee shops in Tokyo—Starbucks, Tully’s, Excelsior, and Cafe de Crie, to name a few—you might want to look for cafes that specialize in matcha green tea, offering not only drinks but even matcha desserts. Surprisingly, matcha cafes aren’t much of a thing in Tokyo, probably because it’s so easy to take matcha for granted when the major coffee shops serve it, and tea shops usually serve plain matcha. There are a few such establishments that are pretty upscale, but, being cheapos, we’ll direct you to the (more) affordable options (good-quality green tea doesn’t come all that cheap, after all)!
1. Nana’s Green Tea
This chain is probably the most popular matcha cafe in Tokyo (not that there are many in the first place). Nana’s Green Tea has several branches in Tokyo—inside Lumine Kita-Senju, in Tokyo Dome City’s LaQua, in Tokyo Sky Tree Town Solamachi, and in Marui’s Ueno branch, to name a few—but they started in Jiyugaoka. You can order their basic combination, plain matcha and Japanese-style sweets, for 570 yen. The rest of their matcha drinks go for 410-700 yen, and, to give you an idea of their matcha drinks menu, they’ve got matcha macchiato, matcha choco latte, matcha soda, matcha shiratama azuki latte (shiratama are white balls of mochi, and azuki is red bean paste), and frozen matcha drinks. They serve other types of green tea, such as houjicha (roasted green tea) and genmaicha (green tea with roasted brown rice) as well, for about 390-650 yen. And if you want seasonal drinks, they have them, too—currently, they’ve got a sakura shiratama latte for spring. If you prefer matcha in your food rather than as a beverage, they’ve got desserts like matcha chocolate (380 yen), a matcha gateau chocolate cake (580 yen a slice), and parfaits (820-1,000 yen). They’ve also got food for 650-1,150 yen, but nothing matcha-infused there. Check out their menu here.
Address: Jiyugaoka 1-29-18, Meguro-ku, Tokyo | Phone: 03-3718-3552 | Access: Jiyugaoka Station | Hours: 10:30–22:30 (Sundays: 10:30–21:30)
2. Koots Green Tea
From the same team behind Tully’s Coffee comes Koots Green Tea in the upscale neighborhood of Azabu-Juban. Despite the location, the prices aren’t all that different from the prices you can find in a coffee shop. Prices start at 330 yen for a short matcha latte to 510 yen for a matcha float. Their menu is quite limited—other than those, they have a koicha latte (koicha being a dark green variant of matcha that’s even thicker and frothier than the usual) for 390-490 yen, a royal milk tea latte for 380-480 yen, a matcha parfait for 700 yen, and an onigiri set for 760 yen.
Address: Azabu-Juban 2-1-3, Minato-ku, Tokyo | Phone: 03-5427-5886 | Access: Azabu-Juban Station | Hours: 8:00–22:00 (weekdays), 9:00–22:00 (weekends)
3. Ujicha Gion Tsujiri
Ujicha Gion Tsujiri is the real deal, as it’s originally from Gion, Kyoto’s famous geisha district, and Kyoto’s got a reputation for having the finest quality teas. Mainly selling tea powder in packages, this is actually more of a matcha shop than a cafe, but they also serve drinks from 270-600 yen, soft-serve matcha ice cream for 420 yen, and parfaits from 620-670 yen. They also have some seats, so you can still take some time to enjoy your order. If you want a menu with a wider selection, including noodles infused with matcha, look for this shop when you visit Kyoto.
Address: 6/F Tokyo Sky Tree Town Solamachi, Oshiage, Sumida-ku, Tokyo | Phone: 03-6658-5656 | Access: Oshiage Station | Hours: 11:00–23:00
4. Habutae Dango
And finally for a taste of history, be sure to pop over to Nippori and visit Habutae Dango, a tea house that was founded in 1819. It’s inexpensive—700yen for a matcha dango set—and has a beautiful Japanese garden.
Address: Higashi Nippori 5-54-3, Arakawaku, Tokyo | Access: Nippori Station | Hours: 09:00–17:00