If you're a Matcha lover like us, the vast choice of Matcha flavoured treats to be found in Japan can be quite overwhelming.
So many things to try, so little time! Rest assured, it's a good problem to have!
On our recent travels that took us to Tokyo and Kyoto, we tried to visit as many places on our Matcha cafe wishlist as possible.
While we were at it, we discovered a whole heap of new ones to try too! BONUS!
We're delighted to share a few with you now and we hope you add them to your list too.
1) Suzukien Asakusa - home to the strongest Matcha flavoured Ice Cream!
A couple of streets behind the famous Nakamise Shopping Strip / Sensoji Temple is this ice cream shop and definitely worth a stop!
Amongst other delicious flavours such as Black Sesame, Genmaicha, Adzuki Bean and Houjicha Ice Cream, they have Matcha Ice Cream that comes in 7 levels of strength. WOW!
So which one did we go for? Number 7 of course! It wasn't crazily strong, just a lovely rich Matcha flavour. So if you're a fan of a nice strong Matcha taste, we recommend this strength level for sure!
2) Sawawa Asakusa - Matcha mochi and Dorayaki Pancakes made fresh!
If you're walking down Nakamise Shopping Strip on the way to Sensoji Temple, turn right just before you get to the big temple and you'll be on the right path to Sawawa Asakusa (look for the Japanese Maccha Sweets sign)
We loved watching the staff make the Matcha Mochi right in front of our eyes and couldn't wait to try some fresh off the chopping block. They were simply amazing! Super squishy melt in your mouth goodness dusted with Matcha powder. Definitely a must try.
We also tried the Matcha filled Dorayaki (Japanese Pancake) which was warm, fluffy and full of flavour.
3) Nana's Green Tea, Chofu - Matcha Latte Frappe and Nama Houjicha & Matcha Chocolate
If you go to one place on your Japan travels for a HUGE Matcha inspired menu, make it Nana's. They are dotted all over Japan and offer modern takes on traditional tea house desserts.
We tried the Matcha Latte Frappe with Shiratama Dumplings and Black Sesame Ice Cream.
It was soooo refreshing on a warm Spring day and coupled with some Nama Matcha and Houjicha Chocolates (think delicious melt in your mouth ganache!) it was a fantastic mid afternoon treat before we tackled the crowds at San Purioland (aka Hello Kitty land).
A beautiful traditional style teahouse in the hip suburb of Jiyugaoka, this is the perfect place to have a break away from the hustle and bustle of Tokyo.
Pictured here is Matcha Shiratama Zenzai - a rich frothy Matcha with Shiratama dumplings floating within it. Enjoyed with a warming Houjicha tea. Ahh, bliss!
We were lucky enough to enjoy this pleasant experience with Miss Rica who has developed a map of teahouses to visit in Tokyo. Definitely check this amazing resource out here
This quaint little cafe is run by the famous Studio Ghibli's Hayao Miyazaki's sister in law.
Tucked away off a quiet street in trendy Setagaya, look for the the queue of people waiting patiently for the famous Cream Puff treats.
A rustic two storey cafe filled with various memorabilia and themed treats, it's definitely worth putting this spot on your itinerary if you're a Studio Ghibli fan.
Naturally we selected the Matcha Shu Cream filled puff as well as a Strawberry filled one and they were both delightful.
Our dear friends who we were travelling with recommended we all stop by this beautiful tea house for a refreshing cup of Matcha on our way up the cobblestone path to Kiyomizudera Temple. The moment we stepped into the tea house garden, it was so very peaceful and relaxing, a beautiful oasis to take a break and watch the colourful Koi and running water...ahh!
We enjoyed a refreshing cold Matcha and Warabi Mochi set (the latter of which the teahouse is famous for)
Definitely recommend you stopping by this enchanting spot to ponder life while gazing out at the tranquil view.
ROCCA & FRIENDS TRUCK is a specialty coffee and Japanese tea drink stand started by ROCCA & FRIENDS, a popular café, in Takatsuki, Osaka
This place was a must visit due to their incredibly creative Iced Lattes featuring traditional Yatsuhashi biscuits shaped with iconic Kyoto buildings.
We’re talking Kyoto Tower, a Pagoda, a Tori gate and even a Daimonji, the fire lit shape which can be seen in summertime on the mountains surrounding Kyoto.
We chose both the Matcha and Houjicha varieties and the aesthetically pleasing drinks went down an absolute treat.
A glorious day trip from Kyoto for any tea lover is Wazuka, a couple of hours south by train. The lush rolling tea hills greet you when you jump on the local bus and the countryside is ever so charming.
We stopped by the D Matcha Cafe to meet with the owners and sample some of the tea themed cuisine, enjoying a Spaghetti pasta with a garnish of Sencha leaves and rich Dark Roast Houjicha Icecream to finish. The view from this cafe is really something else, we could have gazed at the hills forever.
You can also book tea picking tours with D Matcha, so why not make a day of it?
If you don't have enough time to spare, never fear...you now don't have to travel too far afield as there is a newly opened cafe in Kyoto city (details here)
Can you get any cuter than this place?
Arashiyama is well worth putting on any Kyoto itinerary for a lovely few hours spent strolling around near the Katsura river, wandering into the Sagano Bamboo Forest and admiring the many traditional temples, gardens and shops.
This cafe is a newer addition to Arashiyama and is a hit with children and adults alike!
We enjoyed the Matcha Parfait which featured Matcha jelly, icecream, whipped cream, Adzuki beans, a super kawaii Rilakkuma bear biscuit and a mini 3 colour Dango mochi. Amazing!
For a quick refreshing pit stop on a hot day, you can't go past the Namacha no Ka Ice Bar (250 JPY per piece) at Malebranche in Kyoto Tower (Opposite Kyoto station) , which is a new kind of ice cream bar that is dipped into exceptionally dark green tea after an order is placed.
It was soooo good, the rich green tea drizzled over it was rich in flavour and satisfied this Matcha lover to no end.
And for even more suggestions in Kyoto (let's face it...it's the mecca of Matcha!) , we recommend grabbing a copy of this book when you arrive. We found it in a bookstore in Kyoto station. Psst - it is in Japanese but has maps to help you if need be.