Our January afternoon tea session was at Le Jardin on the 3rd floor of Hotel Chinzanso Tokyo (as of 2013, formerly Four Seasons Hotel Chinzanso). This location is famous for the Chinzanso Japanese garden, which I was really looking forward to seeing.
We were actually in the area back in the fall for the Shunga art exhibition at the Eisei Bunko Museum. The whole area was gorgeous then with all the fall colors.
On the way to the museum, we went up this sloped path and stopped by a tiny little shrine with a pair of sacred ginkgo trees.
Aren't they magical?
When we got the museum, we were a bit blind-sided, not because of the exhibition itself but because of the crowd outside.
When we finally got inside, it was so crowded all we saw was the top and back of people's heads =.=, so we did a whirlwind tour and then took a scenic way back to the station.
Anyway, I tried to make a reservation then at the Chinzanso Hotel for tea but couldn't, because reservations are available weekdays only. Huh? O.o Who are their intended demographics here, ladies who lunch? Because the rest of us have to work and can do only get together on the weekends or holidays, to which I was told "first come first serve." Made no sense to me but okay, whatever. So we kept putting off this location anticipating the oncoming fall and holiday crowds.
Then came January when all our visitors have returned home and we finally had a moment to ourselves. One of us decided it was okay to wait around a bit for a table, because we could use this time to wander the Japanese garden. Great idea, so off we went. The entrance to the hotel was so understated that we didn't realize we had passed it right by, that was, until we looked at the sign.
There are a couple of ryotei inside the vicinity. The walk to the hotel itself was pretty.
We never made it up to the pagoda though, which means we'll have to be back to explore some more!
We were told the wait would be about 45 minutes to 1 hour. But we were loving the garden so much when we did get our table (via a phone call), our response was, aww, already?
The tea session was nice, but not the best we've had. The best is still the Mandarin Oriental, in all terms, food, tea, and service!
But our little group did enjoy ourselves very much. We stayed until 6:30 and even ordered cocktails!
The food were good, but not great.
Same with the sweets, good but not great.
At night, the Japanese garden is lit up with lanterns.