In the mountains of Hakone is a teahouse that has been in operation for more than 300 years. The Amazake Chaya, located between Lake Ashi and Yumoto, is now run by the 13th generation of the Yamamoto family. The building, menu, and atmosphere has changed little over the centuries and a visit will take you back to another time. Visit to try the amazing traditional drink, Amazake, with a recipe that has changed little over the past 300 years in a setting that will take you back in time.
Hakone was once known as one of the more difficult parts of the Tokaido Road because of the steep mountains and rocky terrain. At the crest of the trail were a few teahouses giving travelers a chance to rest and reenergize after hiking the mountain road. The Amazake Chaya is the only one still remaining.
The teahouse is most famous for Amazake. Amazake means “sweet sake” is Japanese, but it is a non-alcoholic drink that has a natural sweetness. Amazake is made in the same way as sake but is not allowed to ferment to create alcohol from the sugars. Amazake is a delicious rice drink that is often served warm, a welcome treat that warms you up in the winter months and could also be considered the original Japanese energy drink! Amazake has a soothing creamy texture with an off white color from the rice used to make it. This family recipe has remained relatively unchanged over hundreds of years.
The Amazake Chaya is an amazing historical location run by a welcoming and warm family. The warm hospitality and rich kindness is apparent from their willingness to share stories and thank you for your visit. Their appreciation for the guest and your patronage goes above and beyond even the famed hospitality of the Japanese. The warm smiles and historical background of this teahouse make it a highlight for many people when they visit Japan.
As you can imagine, there are many folktales and stories associated with a travelers den that has been in existence for more than 300 years. Next to the Amazake Teahouse is a free historical museum that gives visitors insight and displays objects from Japanese history. The story of the 47 Ronin is famous in Japan and has close connections to the teahouse. One of the masterless samurai frequented the teahouse, one of many historical figures to visit, a place where you can weave yourself into the history and culture of Japan like the travelers of long ago.
How to get to Amazake Teahouse: Take the bus between Lake Ashi and Hakone Yumoto. Get off at the Amazake Chaya Bus Stop