Tea On The Old Tokaido Road

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FOOD: Tea on the Old Tokaido Road

Hakone – Tokyo’s favourite rural retreat – is top of the list for day-tripping locals and tourists alike. But for those prepared to venture off the well-trodden path, one of Japan’s most magical kissaten (traditional teahouses) sits atop a mountain overlooking Mount Fuji, serving hot tea and mochi.

With a history stretching back to the days when Hakone was a popular pit-stop for travellers making their way between Edo (now Tokyo) and the imperial capital, Kyoto, the Amazake-chaya teahouse has been providing weary walkers with much-needed respite for almost four hundred years. A 9km stretch of the stone-paved Old Tokkaido Road remains today, winding its way through the Hakone mountains. Standing alone amidst the trees, family-run Amazake-chaya continues to welcome passers-by with hot amazake, a non-alcoholic fermented rice drink, and fresh gooey mochi, toasted over coals and dusted with soy powder and crushed sesame.

So, why not trek to the teahouse along Hakone’s historic mountain pass? Or, for a less arduous approach, take the bus which runs throughout the day from central Hakone.

Amazake-chaya teahouse: 395-1 Futago-yama, Hataju-ku, open 7am-5pm

Images: Christy Anne Jones

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