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Headline

The Voice of Tokyo for over 50 Years

JAPAN’S NO.1 ENGLISH LIFESTYLE MAGAZINE

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Latest Issue
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Tea with a Twist in Shizuoka: 5 Must-visit Cafés in Japan’s Green Tea Capital

By Lisa Wallin

Shizuoka accounts for about 40 percent of Japan’s overall green tea production, making it the country’s largest source of green gold. And where there is tea, sweets are seldom far away. Here are five tea shops and cafés that serve some of the most delectable tea and innovative confectionaries Shizuoka has to offer.

1. Chagama

With over 145 years in the business and with two high-ranking certified tea appraisers on staff, it’s safe to say that Marumo Mori Shoten knows tea. Not only are they able to procure the highest quality tea from around Japan, their expertise in heat processing and quality control enhances the flavor of the leaves to their full potential. Head to their retail store Chagama in central Shizuoka City to get a taste of the true versatility green tea has to offer. There are about 100 kinds of tea available — many of which you can try in-store — and experienced staff on hand to guide you through this fragrant and flavorful adventure.

2. Shirakansu Café

While most visitors to Numazu Port come for the fish market, there is a sweeter destination here. Offering a stunning backdrop of Mount Fuji and Japan’s deepest bay, Suruga Bay, Shirakansu Café is an ideal spot to take a break and enjoy the view. Combine it with their trademark shinkai (deep sea) monaka — a thin, crispy fish-shaped mochi rice wafer filled with Hokkaido-sourced adzuki bean paste — for the ultimate sweet sensation. The fish shape is based on the coelacanth, which is often called a living fossil, thus representing longevity and happiness. The monaka come in a variety of forms and flavors — we love the shinkai black, which pairs a brilliant blue spirulina jelly with soft-serve ice cream, topped with a shinkai monaka imitating a coelacanth diving down to catch its prey.

3. Cha10

You may think this shop’s stylized name reads Chaten or Chaju, but alas, you’d be wrong: It’s Chato, using the kunyomi reading for ten in Japanese. Language education aside, this organic matcha stand is a fascinating study in green tea innovation. The store’s signature drink, the nitro matcha, gives those who aren’t keen on matcha’s bitterness a natural alternative. This drink-dessert consists of organic matcha injected with nitrogen gas, creating a bubbly consistency and deepening the flavor. It’s then sweetened with beet sugar, giving it a gentle richness that doesn’t raise your blood sugar. You’ll also find mouthwatering options like matcha jelly latte and matcha jar cakes, as well as traditional straight matcha using tea produced in illustrious regions like Kawane and Okabo.

4. Atami Purin Café 2nd

For desserts that are as cute as they are delicious, head to Atami Purin Café 2nd. This charming shop reminisces of a tiled bathroom, where you might imagine savoring a sweet treat while you soak in the tub. It features a whole host of limited-edition treats — from seasonal selections to items available only once or twice a month — so there is always something new. Try the strawberry, chocolate or fruit milk drinks that come in adorable bottles, or the luxurious yu agari kohii gyunyu purin (a post-bath coffee milk pudding) for peak Showa-nostalgia vibes.

5. Chamachi Kinzaburo

Chamachi Kinzaburo’s resident tea master believes that tea tasting is a sensory experience. This is why you can buy a variety of confectionary — ranging from traditional to more contemporary creations — on the first floor and enjoy your purchase in the tranquil café space upstairs. The second floor boasts a self-serve area with 11 kinds of tea for customers to taste and try, completely free of charge. In autumn and winter, try the okoicha affogato, a divine dessert where you pour thick matcha over matcha ice cream, adzuki red bean paste and more. Chamachi Kinzaburo’s original chafuru — folded waffles with rich fillings — are also a must-try. Flavors include strawberry, roasted green tea and Shizuoka green tea.