If you are roaming the streets of Jiyugaoka and need a tea or coffee break, you’ll want to drop by Kosoan, a Japanese teahouse serving drinks and Japanese sweets.
I can almost assure you that you will be met with a dejavu. For me, it was like stepping into my grandparents’ home in the country side of Japan. The teahouse is a traditional Japanese home (it actually was a home to a big family at one time), overlooking a small Japanese garden. The best seats are along the windows and what we call the “engawa”. The nice breeze will make you forget that you were just shopping in Jiyugaoka.
The name Kosoan is written as 古桑庵. Each letter has its own meaning; 古 indicates “old, aged”, 桑 indicates “mulberry” and 庵 indicates “hut”. The literal translation is “an old mulberry hut”, and it more or less portrays what this place is all about. Yuzuru Matsuoka, a Japanese author and husband to the acclaimed Sosuke Natsume’s daughter named this teahouse.
Kosoan was originally home to Watanabe, who was close friends to Matsuoka. They planned to create a teahouse to enjoy after their retirement, and they did just that! Kosoan was built in 1951, using mulberry trees from Matsuoka’s hometown in Nagaoka in Niigata prefecture. The teahouse was refurbished in 1999, to become the teahouse and gallery that it is today.
They serve coffee, “maccha(green powdered tea)”, and Japanese traditional sweets such as “anmitsu” and “zenzai”. Shaved ice is also worth a try in the summer time!