Discover the Art, Culture and Future of Tea at Tokyo’s Newest Museum

Discover the Art, Culture and Future of Tea at Tokyo’s Newest Museum

Museum of Tea Culture Creation and O~i Ocha Museum open May 1, 2024


This May, Tokyo’s Minato district is brewing something new. At the former Shinbashi Station, an iconic location revered as the starting point of Japan’s modern railway, Ito En, Ltd., Japan’s tea industry leader, is setting the stage for a celebration of tea culture. Timed to coincide with their 60th anniversary and the 35th anniversary of their flagship “O~i Ocha” brand, Ito En introduces a visionary project: a multifaceted museum dedicated entirely to the art and culture of tea.

The “Museum of Tea Culture Creation” and “O~i Ocha Museum” open their doors May 1, 2024, offering a deep dive into the past, present, and future of tea. This innovative space promises to be more than just a museum; it is a hub for cultural exchange and a testament to the rich tapestry of tea’s role in society.

A Blend of History and Modernity

As a staple of daily life and a symbol of hospitality, tea serves as a bridge between individuals, weaving its narrative quietly through centuries of Japanese history. Ito En aims to highlight this narrative, transforming the former Shinbashi Station—a site steeped in historical significance—into a beacon for tea enthusiasts and cultural aficionados alike.

The museum comprises two main sections: “The Museum of Tea Culture Creation” which explores the intricate history of tea, tracing its roots, the evolution of brewing methods, and the cultural adoption of tea-drinking practices. It aims to educate visitors on how tea has shaped social customs and continues to adapt through times.

On the other side, the “Oi Ocha Museum” focuses on the contemporary journey of tea, particularly spotlighting the Oi Ocha brand—a household name in Japan. This section will showcase the innovative strides Ito En has made in the tea industry, from pioneering the packaging of tea in cans to embracing sustainability in tea production.

An Invitation to Explore and Engage

The museum is not just about observation, it’s an interactive experience, inviting visitors to engage with tea as both a beverage and a cultural phenomenon. Through tastings, workshops, and interactive displays, explore the multifaceted nature of tea, gaining insight into its transformative power in daily life and global culture.

Daisuke Honjo, President of Ito En, notes, “Tea is more than just a drink; it’s a medium through which we connect and communicate. By establishing this museum, we aim to foster a deeper appreciation for tea and its unique role in both history and modern lifestyle.”

A Future Steeped in Tradition

With the opening of the tea culture museum at the former Shinbashi Station, Ito En is brewing a future where tradition and innovation meet. It’s a celebration of tea that promises to enhance its appreciation, encouraging a new generation to savor and cherish this timeless beverage.

For anyone passionate about the cultural fabric of Japan, or simply in love with the ritual of tea, this museum offers a fun opportunity to experience the legacy and evolution of tea firsthand. It’s a space where history is honored, the present celebrated, and the future of tea eagerly anticipated.