Thursday, November 21, 2013

Afternoon Tea at Hotel Chinzanso

Last Friday Raku and I had afternoon tea at the Hotel Chinzanso.  We had so much fun at the Mandarin Oriental back in July that we decided this needs to be a seasonal treat.  We've got a whole google doc going now with plans for all the different ones to do in Tokyo.  The Hotel Chinzanso, formerly the Four Seasons Chinzanso, has a beautiful garden on it's grounds that is supposed to be particularly nice during sakura and leaf season.  The leaves are finally turning, so we made reservations for Friday, and then it rained.  Raku was a very good sport about walking around in the drizzle, and the garden was lovely, especially the walkway under a waterfall, but due to the weather I didn't get any good photos.

But let's talk about tea!  This was a very different experience from the Mandarin.  The Hotel Chinzanso is in Edogawabashi, and it feels so removed from Tokyo.  The walk from the station to the hotel took about ten minutes and was so nice.  We walked past a number of shrines, several fruit trees in little yards, and an elementary school.  Le Jardin, the lounge where tea is served, was right where we walked in, and through the windows we could see bright fall leaves and a pagoda that was originally built in Kyoto.  I preferred the indulgent feel of the Mandarin but Raku preferred the Chinzanso, saying she felt so cozy and relaxed.  We both enjoyed the food and drinks, but agreed the Mandarin does both better.

We had the seasonal autumn menu which  was oddly called the "Very Berry Tea."  We started with the sandwiches: egg salad with coleslaw, turkey and cranberry, balsamic swordfish wrap, and a sweet potato, chestnut, and cream cheese sandwich.  The egg salad was surprisingly our favorite, with a bright crunch from a little shredded carrot and cabbage and a nice mustard-y tang.  The sweet potato, chestnut, and cream cheese concoction was creative, but not enjoyable at all.  Our scones came in strawberry, blueberry, and plain and while the strawberry were the most tender, all of them were pretty dense and dry.  For dessert there was a lime and raspberry jelly that tasted a little artificial but not bad, a beautiful raspberry tart, a white chocolate filled with cassis (currant) syrup, and our favorite a strawberry and white chocolate mousse.  The mousse was the most unassuming in appearance, but it was fantastic!

Tea is served by the pot, and you can order a different type each time.  We found each pot contained about three cups, but the leaves stay in the pot the whole time, so by the third cup it's really strong! Raku and I ordered different teas so that we could try two each round.  Both of our favorites were surprising (and both Raku's picks) - Irish Cream Tea and Green Rooibos Strawberry Cream Tea. Neither of them actually have cream in them, though you can certainly add it if you like.

All in all it was a very nice experience, and a great tea to have on a rainy afternoon.  By the time we walked back to the station the rain had cleared and we were able to see the sunset over the river.

Hotel Chinzanso Afternoon Tea
Hours: 12:00-6:00
Phone: 03-3943-1111
Address: 2-10-8 Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo


  1. Hi, where would you recommend for afternoon tea.. it's been 3 years since your reviews of the hotspots.

    Look forward to your input! Thanks.

    1. I think the Mandarin Oriental is the best in Tokyo. I just took my mother-in-law there a couple weeks ago, and it never disappoints. The Park Hyatt and The Ritz Carleton are good alternatives, but better on weekdays than weekends.