TOKYO | Higashiya is a wagashi (traditional Japanese confectioneries) shop that opened in 2005, with a focus on quality, seasonal sweets and teas that can be enjoyed by anyone, any time of day. It moved to its current location in Ginza in 2009, but you won’t notice it when walking down the street, as it’s hidden up an elevator on the second floor of the nondescript POLA Ginza Building. When you exit the elevator, you’re faced with a thick white canvas noren and past this, and oasis from the hectic streets below greets you.
The shop is a modern interpretation of a traditional Japanese tea salon and seats 40 people, with an open kitchen, and counter to purchase sweets to take home. The Shinichiro Ogata designed salon is calming, with low lights, minimal noise, and high attention to every detail, from the copper tea pots to the bronze tipped hangers holding vintage newspapers. There’s a slow pace to the entire venue, and you can’t help but slow down yourself and relax.
When we visited, we sampled a few different confectioneries, along with a delicious limited edition seasonal spring green tea, which unfortunately was only available to enjoy in store (we would have loved to have purchased some tea leaves to take home). Try the Hitokuchigashi, colorful representations of fruits and nuts, each using a different kind of bean paste, or Neriyokan – boiled agar and bean paste jelly.
As well as sweets and tea, Higashiya also sells liquor, some savoury food, and a small selection of home-wares. If you have the time to relax, or are in a rush and just passing through the area, a visit to Higashiya is highly recommended.
POLA Ginza Building, 2F
Telephone: 03 3538 3230
Tue – Sun: 11:00am to 7:00pm