Tea Time with a Little Monkey Magic!
Goku Tea Bar
Many Yokohama residents are familiar with Monkey Magic Teahouse, the well-known tea restaurant with its attractive wooden interior and marvelous tea selection in the heart of Chinatown. But most don't know about its sister store, the comfortable, affordable Goku Tea Bar on an unassuming side street.
You can still drink much of the same delicious, high-quality tea that is served at the older establishment, but the Goku Tea Bar is more casual and leisurely. After ordering from the front, you can sit anywhere you like and continue refilling your glass from the water dispensers for as long as you wish. With refill after refill, the flavour of your tea will gradually mellow, but is still quite good, still quite healthy.
The menu features about 12 different kinds of hot tea, priced between 450 and 550 yen. My favourite is the "Kikkei Itenko", a special kind of Jasmine tea whose tea leaves bloom in the glass after you add hot water. There are also cheaper cold teas and a small selection of other refreshing drinks, including alcohol. If you have the munchies, or just want something to pair with your tea, there is an ample selection of traditional Chinese snacks you can buy. You can also try one of their tea sets for 950 yen; it includes curry, tea, and dessert.
The no-frills interior is comfortable enough, with a counter and small tables downstairs, larger tables and a bright atrium area upstairs. There is a deck and some seating outside, too. All in all, it's the perfect place for a relaxing break if you're in the area, or for kicking back with a book or magazine if you just want some quiet time alone.
Naka-ku, Yokohama, Kanagawa Prefecture, Yamashita-cho 81
A few minutes' walk from Motomachi/Chukagai Station on the Minato Mirai Line, Exit 2
Official website: http://www.goku-teahouse.com/
Former Deep Japan Writer