I have tried several afternoon tea options in many of the hotels in Japan, and found that afternoon tea at Palace Hotel Tokyo パレスホテル東京 is the most unusual. And why? Because the food is artfully presented in Japanese-style traditional three-tiered jyubako lacquer boxes, which makes it a nice change. No cake trays or crystal platters are involved in this afternoon tea! These beautiful bento boxes have sliding drawers that serve as plates, something exclusive to Japan. In addition, they are adorned with seasonal leaves and exclusive seasonal flavors!

Palace Tokyo is has been an iconic hotel since it first opened its doors in 1961. It was knocked down and they redesigned the entire building and replaced it with a glassy new 23-story tower that opened in 2012. However, hints of its historic past remain throughout the hotel – from the original white grand piano in the Lobby Lounge to the aji stone walls echoing the Imperial Palace Tokyo stone masonry at the entrance.

The Palace Lounge Tokyo offers a luxuriously cozy and relaxing setting – whether for cocktails or afternoon tea. Inside the huge main lobby, double-height ceilings, glass walls, rich carpets and splashes of modern paintings ensure that the ambiance is grand. Leafy green trees, modern skyscrapers and the sparkling waters of the moat, with its resident swans offer a beautiful view from the large windows of the lounge. It was quiet hot when we went, so they had closed their outdoor seating area, which makes me wanna go there again!

It was a last – minute decision to go there. I had called them before going and they told us to come any time before 4.30 pm. As soon as we arrived, the staff escorted us to our seats, not next to the window but equally good view. We gave our order of afternoon tea, and asked recommendations for their best teas which arrived before our food. I tried Irish malt and Holsteiner Gruetze tea which I absolutely loved. A server dissembled the lacquer box in front of us so that at the end of it all, everything is laid out so beautifully on the table almost too pretty to eat.

Food is a very nicely done with a mix of sweet and savory fusion of English tea with Japanese accents. Tiny sandwiches and buck wheat scones petits gâteaux and other seasonal selections are served alongside inarizushi rice snacks and other traditional tea sweets made of rice, red beans and fruit. Even the scones were Japanese-style, made with buckwheat instead of regular flour. Our Autumn focused afternoon tea set included stuffed mini croissant, molasses scone, mini créme brulée and Japanese wagashi, amongst others.

There are 30 available flavors of tea and coffee consisting of a very wide variety of English, Japanese, Chinese and herbal tea. You can drink as much as you want and so we tried a few varieties.

If you are looking for a more Japanese afternoon tea experience in Tokyo, this is the place for you!

Price – JPY 4,000 per person | JPY 5,800 with a glass of champagne
Autumn afternoon tea – Untill November 30
Time:  1:00 – 4:30 pm
The Palace Lounge
1-1-1 Marunouchi | Chiyoda-ku | Tokyo 100-0005 | Japan
T: +81 3 3211 5211

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