The cake, or sweets to be more precise, on offer are strictly wagashi (traditional Japanese sweets) and the menu is divided between seasonal offerings, such as kashiwa mochi (sweet bean paste enfolded by a gelatinous rice cake and wrapped in an oak leaf), and year-round delights such as yokan, a firm jelly-like bar of bean paste. With the main branch in Akasaka undergoing an extended renovation it’s an ideal time to visit Toraya’s sedate tea house in Kyoto. Despite its long history, the tea rooms are decidedly modern and minimalist. The best seats are outside, in the sanctum of the inner garden.
In line with the nationwide state of emergency declared on April 16, the government is strongly requesting that residents stay at home whenever possible and refrain from visiting bars, restaurants, music venues and other public spaces.