• The seasons come and go, and the scenery around us changes.
    As the days flow by and are gone, simply standing still every now and then can be enough to find new and stimulating encounters.

    Take a break and see what insights you might discover.
    Take a deep sip of tea.
    “Pause & Inspire”

    #9 Revitalizing the Body in the Space
    Between Heat and Cold

    As spring begins to make its presence felt, the last remnants of winter rage against their demise, producing a season of subtle advances and small steps back.

    To make the most of this unique time of year, in which cold and heat compete for dominance, I head to Shimokitazawa, where old and new come together, for a little tea pilgrimage.

    Dress ¥55,000 (HYKE/BOWLES; Phone: 03-3719-1239)

    I am told that Shimokita Chaen Oyama is the place to go for tea in Shimokitazawa. In operation for over 50 years now, it has recently moved to new premises, but still serves the finest tea to its customers.

    Today, I decide to purchase some of their famous roasted green tea.

    I had no idea that Shimokitazawa was home to a tea professor of such erudition: the proprietor shows me his shiny new purchase – the latest tea roaster – and suggests a tea to help fight the symptoms of hay fever.

    The area in front of Shimokitazawa Station has changed dramatically over the past few years. New and attractive developments have taken shape on the land that used to house railroad tracks linking station to station.

    Today’s main attraction is an outdoor sauna set up in a small space on this land. With winter winning the battle so far today, it’s time to drink some warm tea, and prepare my mind and body for an unforgettable experience.

    Teaware ¥4,290 (Ocha SURU? Glass Kyu-su); Felt sleeve ¥2,200 (both from Itoen); Tea leaves ¥756 (Gokujo Sawanohibiki roasted green tea, Shimokita Chaen Oyama)

    I deliberately choose to brew the tea so that it has a clean, easy-to-drink finish. Savoring the fresh aroma, which allows me to sense the intensity of the heat with which it was made even on the other side, I drain my cup while it is still nice and warm.

    However, as if to betray my newfound coziness, a few drops of cold rain begin to fall. In that case, it’s time to take refuge in the tent sauna!

    The more the logs burn, the hotter it becomes.

    Cast a little water on the sauna stones, and I can feel the heat penetrate to the very depths of my brain.

    It isn’t until the aroma fills the room that I realize it wasn’t water at all but roasted green tea.

    It’s just perfect.

    The tea for the löyly steam.

    This sauna in the middle of town.

    It’s all perfect.

    Just a little longer. Sitting there alone, just me against the heat, I test myself to see the limits of my endurance. It’s about time. I take my overheated body and plunge it into a cold bath.

    Once you learn how to ride this roller coaster of unbearable heat and frigid cold, you learn to appreciate the almost floating sensation of bliss it brings.

    But you mustn’t forget to stay hydrated.

    Here, too, I stick to the harmony of heat and cold, pouring hot tea over ice.

    Teaware ¥1,980 (Glass Kyu-su+, Itoen), Glass frame support (WIRE FLAME, UNIFLAME×Itoen), Tea leaves ¥756 (Gokujo Sawanohibiki roasted green tea, Shimokita Chaen Oyama)

    This roasted green tea is reminiscent of the one I used back in the sauna. The ice dances in the glass as it melts. I can’t wait to see how this mixture of hot and cold affects my body…

    Oh, I get it. Now I see.

    Pure satisfaction.

    To be continued.

    Model: miu
    Direction & Styling: Tadashi Mochizuki
    Photography: Masayuki Shimizu
    Hair & Make-up: Nori
    Produce: Kenichi Kakuno & Hiroshi Inada
    Edit & Text: Yoshiki Tatezaki|Coordination: Emiko Izawa & Mika Kobayashi
    Location: Shimokita Chaen Oyama in reload Shimokitazawa & Sauna Town Shimokitazawa