Within the concrete jungle and neon of Kokubuncho – Sendai’s busiest nightlife district – lies a tiny slice of old Japan, often overlooked as it hides in the shade of surrounding high-rise office buildings and restaurants. ‘Kanegendo’ (金源堂）is a beautiful two-storey traditional Japanese teahouse selling antiques, ceramics, tools for tea ceremony and other fascinating historical treasures.
Whilst the building itself is relatively new, the Kanegasaki family have been running the Kanegendo business in the same location for several generations, over some 200 years!
Walking in off the bustling Hirose-dori Avenue, the vibe inside the store is immediately different – it is almost as though you have stepped back in time. Shelves and cabinets filled with all kinds of beautiful antique tea cups, tea canisters, hot-water urns and decorative ornaments line the walls.
Heading upstairs, we are met with a small but stunning tatami tea room. Along with the occasional tea ceremony, the space is often used for local events and cultural experiences. Whilst there aren’t definitive plans in motion just yet, I was told that (hopefully!) international visitors will be offered the chance to experience a Japanese tea ceremony or perhaps participate in traditional craft activities here sometime in the near future.
If you are looking for a little respite from the busy city, escape to the cultural oasis of Kanegendo. Pick up a souvenir for your loved ones at home and enjoy a chat with the friendly Kanegasaki family – you will be sure to leave with a treasure or at least a treasured memory from Sendai.
‘Kanegendo’ Teahouse (金源堂)
Hours: 10:00~18:00 (closed January 1 and one day during the Obon holiday season)