For probably the prettiest cup of tea you will ever drink, Aoyama Flower Market tea house is the city oasis you never want to leave. Nestled behind the flowers, branches and blossoms of the flower market is a bright and verdant cafe with a delicious and surprisingly affordable menu.
(Ok, so I said affordable, and before pitchforks are raised, I mean for a nice treat, not for a cup of budget tea. It’s all relative. For tea, lunch and dessert for two it was under 5,000 yen)
There are three tea houses across Tokyo: Aoyama, Kichijyoji and Akasaka. Each offer different menu specials which are listed on the site. There are lots of regular flower shops as well though, so be sure to check you’re heading to the right one (we went to the Aoyama one by Omotesando Station).
Since this is Japan, and this place is lovely, there will be queues. We went on a normal Tuesday at about 2:30pm and had a wait of about 40 minutes, so I would definitely avoid weekends when possible. There is a sign telling you the expected wait time and a name list, either on a stand or with the lady in charge of the queue, so if you get your name and number of people, you can pop off if you like. Keep in mind, though, that if others do the same and the queue is faster than anticipated you could lose your spot too, so be careful.
The attention to detail really makes this place: with glass tables, real plants sprouting from underneath them and fresh flowers every which way you turn, it’s like being in a Victorian glasshouse. When it’s your turn, you’ll be shown to your table and can take the necessary photos. There are English menus available and until you pay the bill at the counter, it’s table service.
Tea and food
Now the fun begins—there are plenty of different teas to choose from with fresh herb teas as well as seasonal specials and recommendations. Prices are around 750 yen each, but you get a full pot—making at least 3 cups of tasty tea. You can share if you’re feeling frugal, but it’s delicious enough that you will probably want to have one to yourself! We tried the Bora Bora mix and the Winter Blend, both of which were delicious. Looking around though we saw plenty of interesting pots with fruits and flowers inside, so you could definitely be more adventurous! If you don’t fancy tea, they do lovely sodas and cold drinks like homemade ginger ale and rose or mint soda. There are also some alcoholic options including wine, beer and the option of an emerald or hot mojito (hello brunch!).
Having expected the food menu to be quite pricey, we were pleasantly surprised with mains being around 1,000 yen and looking really appetizing, although there are only a few choices. It is worth noting however, that on weekdays lunch is only served until 3pm. There are vegetarian and vegan options and staff were really accommodating when it came to tweaking dishes to make them dairy-free (they even lowered the dessert price when ice cream was removed, which almost never happens here!). We ordered an open vegetable sandwich and the house salad plate (basically the only salad I have willingly ordered in my life) and although there could have been a little more Camembert, it was delicious and filling, with warm bread, potato salad, fruit, mixed salad leaves and a simple vinaigrette.
Although we had to queue to get in, it did become quieter and we weren’t rushed at all—so we saw no reason not to have a look at the dessert menu. If you don’t fancy lunch, you can choose a dessert and add any drink for 540 yen. The desserts are beautifully presented and floral themed, making it a tough choice. They start at 756 yen and go up to 1,080 yen, with flexibility when it comes to dairy-free etc. We had the Flower Parfait and the Rose Jelly (minus the ice cream which comes in a separate pot) and both were sweet without being sickly. It would be fair to say that the one regret was that the Flower French Toast (1,080 yen) had a 20-minute wait as there were a few orders ahead, as we saw it on another table and it looked amazing. Definitely a good brunch option.
So, for a rainy day catch-up with friends or a cute date (be it with a person or book) this is a lovely place to escape the busy streets of Tokyo. You’ll forget all about the suits and skyscrapers and may have a tough time leaving it behind!