Just over the Saitama Tokyo border lies the suburban city of Ome. When you hear “city” and “Tokyo” you’d be forgiven for imagining a metropolis like Ikebukuro or Ueno, but Ome is so far removed from the typical image of Tokyo that you feel like you’ve stepped into another world.
There are three reasons I chose to get this post out of drafts today:
The fallen plum blossoms of Ome
Yesterday, I saw plum blossoms coming into bloom on my Wednesday walk. Often when I think of plum blossoms I poignantly recall how, although the city of Ome is named after “unripe plum blossoms” (lit. blue plum blossom), there are very few plum blossoms there today. Ome was once called “Japan’s number one spot for plum blossoms”. But the famed ancient plum blossoms, all 1,266 of them, were cut down between 2009 and 2012, to prevent the spread of an aggressive disease called plum pox.
It is a week until Valentine’s Day and I was reminiscing about how I spent a wonderful Valentine’s day in Ome last year (external site; City-cost.com). And while there I had the most sumptuous Afternoon Tea I’ve ever had in Japan. (Lounge Bar Prive in the Palace Hotel is a close second! Also City-cost.com)
Coincidentally I am going to Afternoon Tea with a dear friend later today (Thursday). I do love Afternoon Tea! It has been a while though. And it dawned on me that the last Afternoon Tea I did have was the one in Rose Town Tea Garden…
Rose Town Tea Garden
Charming Victorian House with elegant interior
The interior and exterior of Rose Town Tea Garden, which is a charming Victorian house, are as captivating as the dramatic views offered from the tea house’s quaint veranda overlooking the Tama river and imposing Jindai Bridge.
Tea house with a view
Stunning views are just one of the allures of Rose Town Tea Garden, a former wedding chapel converted into an elegant tea house in rural Ome.
Some of the signatures of its time as a chapel are still prominent today.
The term tea house when used in Japan conjures up images of tatami rooms and green tea whisks. But this establishment is more like what we call “tea rooms” back home. It is an English style tea house with the menu and all the trimmings for a quintessential English tea room experience. The afternoon tea in particular is conventional English / Irish style, with delicious authentic scones.
We sat outside admiring the views. Despite being mid February it was surprisingly warm. The tea house have fold back glass doors that do a great job of keeping the chill out. They open them enough to let the sun shine through. In the sun trap and with the blankets they provide for over your knees it is really quite comfortable outside even in winter.
When you hear “Valentines” and “we” you’d assume I was there with my better half, but I was actually there with my two youngest children! The tea house caters to all walks of life; it is suited to a sole traveller, a group, a family and even those on a proper Valentine’s date.
I got the set that comes with soup and salad. Everything is fresh and homemade. The afternoon tea comes with fresh sandwiches, desserts and scones of the day and of course a pot of tea. They have a great choice of tea, at least 19 different types. They have other lunch sets, including an Afternoon Tea set for older children.From an article I wrote about a day out in Ome, on City-Cost.com
Another excerpt from same article.
I shared my afternoon tea with my two children. It was no problem to do this. They have smaller sized forks and spoons for younger children. I love that they give them proper glasses, regular porcelain plates, and cups if they are having tea. No plastic in sight. They have a high chair and even some toys beside one of the two pianos inside, augmenting the experience for kids.
They have both an English and Japanese menu and some of the staff are bilingual. I wrote a review on Google Maps shortly after visiting the location . I got a response from an employee there, thanking me for my review. It is only one of a handful of over 700 locations that I have written reviews for that took the time to respond to my review. It speaks volumes about the high standards at this captivating and relaxing establishment in beautiful Ome. Not to mention they have an average rating of 4.5 on Google Maps, which is extremely rare and first rate.
Rose Town Tea Garden review on maps (via Google+)
Rose Town Tea Garden Information
Opening hours: Open Tuesday to Saturday from 11 am to 5 pm.
Budget: About 2000 yen. Afternoon tea with soup and salad costs 2,800 yen. Without soup and salad it is just 1,800 yen.
Website: Rose Town Tea Garden
Language: English (main) and Japanese
Address: 〒198-0171 Tōkyō-to, Oume-shi, Futamatao, 1 Chome, 1-3-1
By car: 15 minutes drive from Ome Railway Park on route 28. There is parking for about six or seven cars (depending on size of car and what way other people park!). On a busy day, parking can be an issue.
By train: It is just a 5 minutes walk from Hinatawada train station on the Ome Line. You pass the famous “Heso” belly button manju shop on the way!