A Japanese Afternoon Tea with Excitement on Every Layer
Sitting at the base of the Kodai-ji Temple – known for its beautiful bamboo and autumn leaves – is the wedding hall, restaurant and café, Akagane Resort.
This multifaceted establishment is located inside a refurbished 1925 Kyoto manor and maintains the same sprawling Japanese garden as when it was first built.
As is the trend with such grand Kyoto manors, the small entranceway opens up to an unimaginably large garden, that at over 2,300 ㎡, is less like someone’s personal yard and more like a small forest.
With plum blossoms in spring, crepe myrtle shrubs in summer, maple trees in autumn and camellia in winter, this vast garden enjoys charming shades of red and pink year-round.
The subdued tranquility the garden brings makes it feel like you’ve got the entire place to yourself and almost has you forgetting that you’re in the heart of a major tourist neighborhood.
As you make your way through the trees and over the stone bridge, a small building sitting separately from the rest of the manor comes into view. Ordinarily unused, this detached study now offers magnificent afternoon tea sets.
After sitting down, an afternoon tea comprised of five stacked lacquered boxes called “KYO KASANE” will be brought to you. The creation of the afternoon tea set was inspired by the Yasaka Pagoda, a landmark of the Kiyomizu district. Each lacquered box is themed around a different thing, so like a treasure box, opening each one is an exciting and thrilling experience.
In addition to colorful Uji matcha and seasonal fruit-based desserts, the afternoon tea also contains bite-sized savory French-Japanese fusion dishes as well.
For drinks, Akagane Resort has prepared Japanese tea from the over 450-year-old Japanese tea shop of Kanbayashi Shunsho honten in Kyoto’s Uji City.
This magnificent afternoon tea set provides you with the opportunity to enjoy a bottomless pot of original tea made specifically for Akagane Resort.
Enjoy a brilliant time over an incredible afternoon tea at the refuge of the Kiyomizu district, the Akagane Resort.
The afternoon tea costs ¥4,000 (inc. tax & service fees) and requires a reservation (closed Tuesday and sometimes Sat, Sun & holidays).
Sencha (Kanbayashi Shunsho honten original)
The first things to be ordered when you sit down are the drinks.
The sencha at Akagane Resort was made by tea store Kanbayashi Shunsho honten specifically for the resort and is only available here.
The natural umami flavors of the tea are quite prominent and for an instant, give you the sense that you’re drinking kelp based dashi stock.
The tea leaves are steeped and poured right in front of you, giving you the most intense aromas and deep flavors of the tea.
In addition to the sencha, you can choose refills of coffee and a range of black teas as well, all of which are bottomless.
The coffee is an original blend by veteran Kyoto coffee shop Ogawa Coffee. There are seven varieties of vegan-friendly black tea from tea brand Mighty Leaf.
Yasaka Pagoda Box (right) & Karesansui Box (left)
Both of these lacquered boxes feature popular items from the Akagane Resort’s café, Salon de KANBAYASHI.
The items are both pieces of French cuisine made using matcha and hojicha roasted green tea from the Uji tea shop Kanbayashi Shunsho honten,
The right lacquered box contains an opera cake made with layers of matcha soaked sponge and chocolate that adds a delightful snap. Each of these aspects is skillfully balanced with a beautifully delicate sweetness.
The left lacquered box contains a tiramisu made with hojicha roasted green tea. The smokey fragrance of the hojicha fills your nostrils while the following mild sweetness gently dances across your tongue. The aromas of the roasted tea flood out of the box the moment you open the lid like some kind of aromatherapy, truly something that needs to be experienced in person.
・Yasaka Pagoda Box (right)
A light roasted green tea flavored tiramisu.
・Karesansui Box (left)
Japanese rock garden-themed matcha opera cake.
Seasonal Box (back) & Matcha Fondue Box (front)
These two boxes are themed around the seasons (photo: Sept 2019).
The Seasonal Box utilizes seasonal fruit, such as mandarins in summer and persimmons in autumn, to express the time of year.
The odd-looking ball is a grape yokan (a jellied dessert made from red bean paste, agar and sugar) with an interesting and fun to eat texture. The half yokan half gelatin texture means this dessert is both refreshingly juicy and somewhat chewy.
The Matcha Fondue Box contains a sweet condensed milk-like sauce made with Kanbayashi Shunsho honten matcha. Irresistible to anyone with a sweet tooth, this box is designed to be enjoyed like any other fondue, by dipping the various offerings into the sweet, gooey sauce.
・Seasonal Box (autumn ver.)
Purple sweet potato Mont Blanc/squash and cinnamon macaroon/grape yokan/chestnut shaped chocolate
・Matcha Fondue Box
Baked dessert/seasonal fruit/white mochi dumpling
This Obanzai Box is the savory layer of this afternoon tea set and is meant to be eaten in between and after each sweet layer.
This box contains small bites of savory offerings such as ham and smoked salmon.
The fermented butter croissant gives off a flakey and light texture, while the aroma of the fermented butter and mild saltiness come together to form an irresistible flavor combination.
Fermented butter croissant of the day/French appetizer/colorful vegetable medley