So few places in the world integrate so beautifully and harmoniously with nature. Aoyama Flower Market is one such place that does all of the above. Although, this comes as no surprise particularly given the painstaking care taken by the Japanese to sculpt and create gardens of zen.
The ambiance and atmosphere is both calm and friendly and you can browse the flowers at your complete leisure. It is a little further to the back of the Flower Market that you become aware of the Tea House, the hanging baskets and the people.
Wait times to this beautiful Tea House vary depending on the time of day, however it's a complete pleasure to sit among the flowers and wait for tea time. It's a place of communal recluse for both tourists and locals alike, the space of which beautifully resembles a greenhouse.
Flowers are organised in colour combinations, ranging from sweet peas to tulips and orchids. Even little cacti sit together on shelves next to terracotta pots and jars. Pre-made bouquets are available to take home, or if you require a particular arrangement you are free to pick and choose.
Floral features of the week adorn the tables within the Teahouse. During this particular time, the flower of the week was the humble tulip, of which sat along tables in rows of sweet orange and along the window seats in pure white.
Vines and hanging plants sit from baskets and pots in the ceiling, acting as both art installation and curtains.
It was approximately 7.30pm by the time I decided to settle for a bite to eat. Bells jingled on the teahouse door and I was greeted by a smiling waitress. She showed me to the tables on the side of the teahouse and I was provided with an English menu that offered a range of blends with herbs, seasonal ingredients and floral notes. The comprehensive menu offers more than just tea, with desserts, meals and open sandwiches for your choosing.
Wanting something light, I chose the Refresh Blend for 810Y. I couldn't quite afford to relax too much otherwise I may not have made it back to my apartment by myself. With a blend of rosemary, spearmint, applemint, lemonbalm and lemongrass, the Refresh Blend was a soothing and uplifting option.
The uniquely shaped pot came out, accompanied with a clear glass cup and a small hour glass. I was given instructions not to drink the tea until the sands had run through the hourglass completely, to allow for it to steep.
It was such a conscious way in which to make you pause. Particularly when travelling you find very little time to slow down to fully soak in all of the experiences around you. As Jason had left in the afternoon and Jamie had left a few hours before, I was my own company. The sands trickled through and I found myself stopping, taking time to reflect on my trip and observe the people around me. A little while after, the tea was ready to be poured.
Almost perfectly timed, the staff handed me a plate of fruit toast that I had ordered. The bread was dipped in a thin layer of batter, each slice perfectly soft, fluffy and mellow on the inside, with just the right amount of crisp on the outside.
Orange syrup that consisted of a mix of cointreau and sugar was available to be drizzled generously atop the dollop of fresh cream, scattering of nasturtium and finely sliced almonds. It was so delicious and for me, it was dinner. If not for the flowers, the very atmosphere and ambiance of the Teahouse, then the French toast was enough to make me return.
Aoyama Flower Market Teahouse is certainly a beautiful gem to be visited in Tokyo. Although the winter weather was nothing short of cold, Aoyama Flower Market Teahouse was and is a place where you will always be warmly welcomed. Idillic for a visit by yourself, or with a loved one or your girlfriends, it's a charming place to rejuvenate the heart and mind.
Aoyama Flower Market
5-1-2 Minami Aoyama, Minato-ku
If you'd like to visit a few more places in Tokyo - have a peak at my Tokyo Food Guide!