Kanrantei Tea House

  • Vegetarian Vegetarian
    ( 2 reviews )

Matsushima Cho Choiter Town 56, Matsushima, Japan, 981-0213

A 400 year old samurai tea house overlooking Matsushima Bay. It is open daily, all year-round. It features powdered green tea (matcha) and a variety of local favorite accompaniments, from oshiruko (a sweet and filling soup-like dish with mochi pounded rice balls and sweet red bean) to a small squash cake made with locally-grown squash. Everything on the multilingual picture menu is vegetarian and almost all options are vegan, reflecting traditional Japanese cooking styles. Reservations are accepted for larger groups, but not normally necessary. Address: 松島町字町内56. Note: kitchen may stop serving 30-60 minutes prior to closing, check ahead. Open Mon-Sun 8:30am-4:30pm. Closing time is earlier in winter; last order is 30 min. before closing.

Categories: Japanese, Bakery

2 Reviews

First Review by JVeggie

Sweet calm in the eye of the tourist storm - Edit

A beautiful tea house with lovely sweets. Unfortunately the location is overlooking a busy tourist port, which greatly detracts from the view, with tour boats coming and going continuously, surrounded by a construction site. The tea rooms are completely overrun by tourists and an annoying prerecorded message played continuously in repeat the whole time I was there.

Despite these failings, the staff were lovely and presented me with a complementary canvas shopping bag.

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Nice intro to Japanese desserts with a view! - Edit

Kanrantei is one of my top 3 places in Matsushima to visit, and I love going with friends. It's open daily year-round, and the desserts offered vary somewhat by season. For example, I tried the "namagashi" (a more moist, fresh dessert) in summer and it was in the shape of a hydrangea flower. Most of the items are made from rice, but pounded and prepared in ways that you would hardly know it.

My personal favorite is perhaps less traditional, the sweet squash cake (aka kabocha no taruto). It's only available here and were it's made, Matsuda Confectionery across from Hotel Daimatsuso.

If you want to try a few different ones at once, the "Ladies Set", has 3 rotating items. It's recommended to taste the sweet first before the tea to prepare your mouth for the slight bitterness of the powdered matcha tea.

In summer you can substitute iced matcha for matcha at no charge.

There's a small museum in back which most people miss but has interesting samurai artifacts. It's included with admission (200 yen).

While technically wheelchair accessible (go up the ramp in back and sit right in front of the building), the ground surface is fine gravel which may be a bit challenging.

Updated from previous review on 2017-07-03

Pros: Great views of Matsushima Bay, Peaceful location, Interesting selection of desserts at good prices

Cons: Annoucement/boat horns annoying, May be too chilly in winter to enjoy bay views, Seating is on the tatami floor (not a con for me)

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