Within the busy shopping district of Jiyugaoka, there is a secret garden behind an old Japanese house. If you follow a stone path under the maple trees you will notice a room at the back, where people sit on straw mats, having their tea in the traditional way. A pair of sliding wooden doors open into a tiny hall. Shoes are placed neatly, leaving an inviting space for yours. Up the steps, you can feel the softness of the tatami mats. In the spacious Japanese style room, time seems to stop. A new world opens up, distinguished by whispers, cool air from quiet fans, and considered movements that do not waver the soft beauty of this special place. Everything around is peaceful and calm. Subdued conversations float in the air along with the scent of green tea.
Kosoan (古桑庵) teahouse is not easy to find. It is hidden behind an old wooden house, with just a small sign to indicate the way. The charming entrance through a garden creates a mysterious atmosphere. Inside, there are two rooms. One of them is smaller and more intimate. The other one is more spacious and serves as the main tea room. The room is decorated with antique kendo swords, wooden closets and Japanese ceramics. At the far end, a tokonoma - alcove for precious items - displays small swords. Guests are seated around low tables on dark blue cushions. A friendly Japanese lady tiptoes around, carrying tea trays and preparing the tables for new customers. The glass window is spotless, creating an illusion of nature being an integral part of the room. Having tea whilst gazing at the wind playing with the leaves and the afternoon sun shining through the trees is a truly meditative experience. It would be wonderful to come here every few months and see how the seasons change.
Menu is in Japanese and English, with pictures for easier ordering. Aside from traditional matcha, menu items include amazake (sweet wine made from fermented rice), shaved ice with anmitsu (agar, sweet beans, and black syrup), coffee, strawberry milkshake and iced cappuccino. Most of the drinks are served with typical Japanese sweets. Everything is carefully arranged on black lacquer trays.
Japanese come here to relax, connect with their tradition and with nature. Shoppers, young mothers, shy couples, students, and families visit this tranquil oasis during their busy day. This place owes its unique charm to a limited number of guests. Be mindful when you visit to keep the tranquil atmosphere of the teahouse.