Monday, August 3, 2009

Yamamoto-tei Teahouse

For once I'm not going to get all flippant and/or vitriolic on you, with hardly a shade of cynicism either.

The reason being, Shibamata is one of the truly hidden joys of Tokyo, a place where history stands still - and the locals carefully cultivate this.

It’s the hometown of the (sometimes) lovable tramp, Kuruma Torajiro, who featured in the world’s longest running film series (the Tora-san movies), there’s the madly beautiful Daikyo-ji Temple, and here you’ll find one of the most beautiful traditional-style homes in Tokyo: Yamamoto-tei.

Construction on Yamamoto-tei commenced at the end of the Taisho period (1912-26) as a private residence, but it was opened to the public in 1991 and has been converted into a fabulous restaurant, and is perhaps the principle remaining example here of sukiya zukuri, or “teahouse style”, with shoji paper panels and tatami mats, and breath-taking views of a gorgeous garden, pond and waterfall. It literally radiates in summer.

Best of all, entry costs just ¥100.

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