Surprisingly, even though Tokyo Sky Tree has obviously become one of the biggest destinations for international tourists visiting Tokyo, the staff have made the odd decision to hide all English, Korean and Mandarin language guides behind the few information desks scattered around the complex, ironically forcing those who don’t understand Japanese to ask the staff in Japanese if they have guides in other languages. That is of course if they’re even aware such guides exist. They certainly don’t advertise them to visitors and I wasn’t aware of their existence until I saw someone else carrying one.
This sort of logic isn’t that unusual in Japan though it is surprising considering that they’re advertising Tokyo Sky Tree as a tourist destination. There is some non-Japanese language support on various signs and maps though their usefulness will vary as some will be either completely Japanese, both English and Japanese or English and Japanese with ten percent of the content translated into Korean or Mandarin depending on which source you look at. Ah, Japan.
Nana’s Green Tea is a kind of niche cafe that focuses on drinks and food made from Japanese matcha green tea powder and a variety of traditional Japanese sweats. This in itself makes it worth checking out if you’re in Tokyo for a short period of time and want to try something different.
Unfortunately Nana’s Green Tea suffers from the same lack of foresight as the rest of Tokyo Sky Tree and is completely unprepared for dealing with non-Japanese customers. The menu is entirely in Japanese (you can view the full menu here on their site) and even though there are pictures of each item it doesn’t make it any easier to tell the difference between the twenty or so green tea drinks which look almost identical to each other. The cakes and sweets should be quite easy to choose from but similar to the huge selection of similar looking drinks there’s also several different bowls of rice whose ingredients are impossible to decipher without an intermediate level of Japanese. This could cause some serious problems for people with allergies as several rice bowls contain fish though don’t look like they do.
The staff were very friendly and were legitimately welcoming to all customers and tried their best to help me understand the menu. After trying to communicate in English for the sake of this review though I was forced to switch to Japanese almost immediately due to the lack of communication happening.
I’d highly recommend coming here with a Japanese speaking friend though if that’s not a possibility I suggest playing it safe with an “Ice Green Tea” and “Matcha Gateau Chocola”. The “Ice Green Tea” is super refreshing and while it’s not the richest I’ve had, it’s still good and is a good introduction to matcha green tea drinks for those used to the loose leaf green tea that’s more popular in the West and other parts of Asia.
The “Matcha Gateau Chocola” is basically a green tea and chocolate cake which was really nice and comes with a generous serving of whipped cream covered in special syrup made from Okinawan brown sugar which is something I’m a big fan of. It’s a lot darker than regular syrup and has a burnt caramel taste to it.
If I had to say one negative thing about the actual dining experience it would be that I found the smell of fish from the rice dishes to be occasionally overpowering and in too sharp a contrast to the green tea and sweets on the menu. Despite both obviously being Japanese, it seems a strange choice to serve sweet matcha drinks and a fish and rice dish together.
Nana’s Green Tea is a rather nice place though and as I said, the staff are very friendly and welcoming. How much you enjoy it though will really depend on your individual tastes and willingness to try the unknown.
While researching Nana’s Green Tea for this review I discovered that it’s actually a chain that has several branches elsewhere in Japan and also in Shanghai and Singapore. Have you ever tried Nana’s Green Tea before? How was your experience?
Station: Tokyo Sky Tree and Oshiage
Train Line: (Tokyo Sky Tree Station) Isesaki, (Oshiage Station) Keisei Oshiage, Tobu Isesaki, Toei Asakusa and Tokyo Metro Hanzomon
Features: 100% smoke free
Menu Language: Japanese
Hours: 10am- 9pm
Address: 〒131-0045 東京都墨田区押上1-1-2, 東京スカイツリータウンソラマチ4F
4th Floor, Tokyo Sky Tree Town Solamachi, 1-1-2 Oshiage, Sumida Ku, Tokyo 131-0045
Map: View on GoogleMaps
Directions: Nana’s Green Tea can be found on the fourth floor of the massive Tokyo Sky Tree Town Solamachi shopping and dining complex which is located, you guessed it, directly under Tokyo Sky Tree.
Due to it’s size, finding your way around the complex which is actually three individual buildings can be very confusing especially when all of the maps located around the space are for Japanese speaking people only.