Family-run modern town tea shop
Cha Okanoen is a Japanese tea specialty shop located in Saitama City, Saitama Prefecture. Situated just a 2-minute walk from JR Utsunomiya Line’s Higashi-Omiya Station. Since its establishment in 1953, Cha Okanoen has been a family-run business spanning three generations. It’s beloved by many for its specialization in Saitama’s renowned Sayama tea and tea utensils.
As a modern town tea shop, they offer tea that suits modern lifestyles while preserving tradition. Their focus lies on four tea varieties: Sayama Tea (Sencha), Hojicha, Genmaicha with Matcha, and Matcha.
Preserving traditional roasting methods
Their Sayama Tea is directly sourced from contracted farmers in Mikajima, Tokorozawa City, Saitama Prefecture. The tea leaves are subjected to the traditional Sayama “fire roasting” method, yielding a deep-flavored Sencha with a rich sweetness.
Sayama Tea is sold by weight in front of customers upon order.
Hojicha is roasted in small quantities using traditional roasting machines.
The third-generation owner, Naomi Okano, has inherited the art of Hojicha production from her grandfather and the first generation, Kaichiro Okano. She preserves the traditional direct-fire roasting method, unchanged since the shop’s establishment.
The two types of Hojicha available are the popular Home-Roasted Hojicha and the Kasane Hojicha, which involves roasting stem tea leaves twice to enhance sweetness and depth.
To deliver the fresh aroma of roasted tea, Cha Okanoen offers a Freshly Roasted Subscription service where Hojicha roasted it within three days is delivered to customers’ homes. For details, please check their online store.
Genmaicha with Matcha is also developed based on a recipe handed down from Kaichiro Okano, the founder, and perfected by Naomi.
Using abundant Uji Matcha, this tea features the aromatic fragrance of domestic brown rice and a rich flavor.
Japanese Tea for modern life
In March 2023, they introduced the limited-edition Sakura Green Tea for spring. It’s a drip bag tea combining Sayama Tea (Sencha) with fragrant cherry blossom leaves and petals of double-flowered cherry blossoms.
Furthermore, their drip bag teas include Sayama Sencha, Hojicha, and Genmaicha as regular offerings. By setting the drip bag in a teacup or mug and pouring hot water, customers can enjoy an authentic flavor similar to brewing in a teapot. The packaging design is also attractive, making it a great choice for gifts.
Introducing the culture of chanoyu
The shop sells tea utensils like Uji Matcha and tea bowls. They also provide a range of utensils suitable for beginners in the world of tea.
In their tearoom, the second-generation owner, Hatsumi Okano, primarily leads tea ceremony classes and tea gatherings.
For three generations, Cha Okanoen has been passing on the charm of Sayama tea. Their products are available for purchase on their online store, so be sure to check it out.
Address: 4-7-7-7 Higashiomiya, Minuma-ku, Saitama-shi, Saitama
Opening hours: 10am-7pm
Closed on Thursdays