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Monday, November 26, 2012

Mariage Freres in Japan

マリアージュ フレール

The venerable French teahouse, Mariage Fréres has a presence in sixteen different locations in Japan. The store at the top of the list is the one in Japan's most famous fashion and art district, Ginza, in Tokyo.

Mariage Freres, Ginza, Tokyo.

Mariage Fréres Ginza is right in the heart of the Ginza district, down a small street off the main Chuo-dori Street. This most prestigious of Japan's Mariage Freres stores has a graceful, wood-paneled facade, with wrought iron window bars upstairs, that reflects its French origins.

Step inside Mariage Freres Ginza and you are greeted by one of the white-clad staff - as well as a wallful of teapots and tea canisters, as varied in shape and color as the kinds of tea offered here.

Inside Mariage Freres, Ginza.

Mariage Freres Ginza is a three-floor cafe and our party was taken to a table on the top, third floor. The tea menu had hundreds of teas organized by growing region. I found out for the first time that Darjeeling tea comes in green varieties too.

Unfortunately the Exilir de Amour was sold out, so I went for "Master Darjeeling" and a piece of pumpkin tart.

The teapot is nothing like I have ever seen in Japan in terms of size and build. It held at least twice, probably three times, as much tea as you normally get in a Japanese cafe, and the delicious piece of tart was at least twice the size of a typical Japanese serving.

Tea in Mariage Freres, Ginza.

The waiters - including more than a few strapping young men - are plentiful, attentive, and very smartly attired.

A very pleasant time - about an hour and a half - at a table of our own over superb, rarely found tea and sweets, in generous quantities, and in Tokyo's most expensive area, came to a reasonable 2,000 yen each.

Mariage Freres Ginza is a cafe with a pleasant blend of intimate comfort and chic sophistication. There are boxed teas and sweets for sale in the store as well as books about tea, the history of tea, and tea paraphernalia. The Mariage Freres Ginza store comprises a tea emporium, tea museum, restaurant, and tea salon.

Tart at Mariage Freres Ginza, Tokyo.

Most Mariage Freres in Japan are inside department stores, but the Ginza and Shinjuku stores in Tokyo are stand-alone.

There are other Mariage Freres in Kobe, Kyoto, Osaka, Nagoya and Yokohama.

Mariage Freres Ginza
Suzuran-Dori, 5-6-6 Ginza
Chuo-Ku, Tokyo
Phone. : 03 3572 1854

Tea emporium & Museum 11:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m.
Restaurant & Tea Salon  11:30 - 8:00 p.m.

Ginza station, exit A1, 1 minute walk.

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