Best High Tea in Tokyo

Contrary to what some may believe, High Tea in Tokyo is more widespread than anticipated. During my travels, I found it remarkably easy to locate luxurious hotels and quaint cafés serving exquisite afternoon tea. What sets Tokyo apart is the creative flair added to this British tradition. Many places in Tokyo offer seasonal and themed High Tea experiences, elevating the occasion to an art form.

As someone who holds a British passport, the tradition of High Tea holds a special place in my heart. It’s a quintessential British experience that encapsulates a sense of refinement and conviviality, often featuring an elaborate spread of finger sandwiches, scones, and various teas.

Imagine my delight when I discovered that Tokyo, a city I deeply adore, offers a plethora of High Tea options that exceed expectations!

In this guide, I will explore the crème de la crème of high tea in Tokyo. We’ll explore various establishments, each evaluated based on vibe, ambiance, food quality, and price. Whether you’re a traditionalist longing for a taste of Britain or an adventurer eager to experience Japanese-infused afternoon tea in Tokyo, this guide will show you the best locations for it.

Summary – Best high tea in Tokyo

  • Best overall high tea in Tokyo – The Palace Lounge, Palace Hotel Tokyo
  • Best for high tea food – Atrium Lounge, ANA Intercontinental Tokyo
  • Best high tea value for money – The Grand Lounge, Ginza Six
  • Best for mature elegance – Lounge Bar Privé, Palace Hotel Tokyo
  • Best for stunning views – Four Seasons Hotel Tokyo at Otemachi
  • Best for stunning pâtisserie – Lounge Tokyo Le Musee
  • Best for views and modern vibes – The Tokyo Edition, Toranomon
  • Best for authentic, classic English high tea – Le Jardin, Hotel Chinzanso –
  • Best for Italian cuisine high tea – EVOLTA il cielo, Ginza Mitsui –
  • Best for French cuisine high tea – Manhattan, InterContinental Tokyo Bay
  • Best for forest-like vibes – The Café by Aman Tokyo

High Tea in Tokyo

High Tea is more than just a cup of tea. It’s a British tradition where you sit down to a nice spread of small sandwiches, scones, and other tasty bites. As a Brit who loves Tokyo, I couldn’t wait to see how this city does High Tea. And let me tell you, Tokyo doesn’t just do High Tea, it takes it to a whole new level.

You won’t run out of places to try here, the list just goes on and on. And the best part? These spots are always coming up with new themes and seasonal menus. Just when you think you’ve tried them all, something new pops up. So, you’re never going to get bored enjoying afternoon tea in Tokyo.

What really blew me away is how Tokyo does High Tea even better than places in the UK. Even top spots like Raffles in Singapore don’t come close. The finger foods here are wonderful, not just pretty to look at but also really tasty. Plus, they get the sweetness just right.

In this guide, I’ll take you through the best High Tea spots in Tokyo, looking at the vibe, the food, and how much bang you get for your buck.

What to expect from afternoon tea in Tokyo

High Tea in Tokyo is a bit like a treasure hunt, but instead of gold, you’re discovering a world of sweets and flavours. The first thing you’ll notice is that sweets take centre stage. From delicate pastries to intricately designed cakes, the focus is on satisfying your sweet tooth, but not to the point of a sugar overload. The balance is just right.

Now, let’s talk about time. Most places give you a 90-minute window to enjoy your High Tea. Don’t worry, that’s more than enough time to dig into all the goodies. And the best part? During that time, you usually get unlimited drinks. We’re talking teas and coffees, and sometimes even beers and wines, depending on the place. You won’t just get one type of black tea blend either, you will get to enjoy various special teas like first flush Darjeeling, jasmine tea, oolongs and white teas.

Price-wise, you’re getting a pretty good deal, especially when you consider that you’re often sitting in a 5-star hotel or a high-end restaurant. Expect to pay around 5000-8000 yen per person.

You’ll want to make the most of those 90 minutes because there’s a lot to try. Unlike other places where a couple of sandwiches and scones make up the bulk of the menu, Tokyo goes all out with a variety of options.

And let’s not forget the ambiance. Some spots, like the Grand Lounge in Ginza Six, offer breathtaking views of Tokyo. Others, like the Intercontinental, set the mood right in their hotel lobby with live piano music.

Best spots for High Tea in Tokyo

Now for the best high tea in Tokyo. I’ve been to a bunch of places around Tokyo and I’m going to give you the lowdown on the best of the best. We’ll chat about what’s on the menu, the vibe of the place, and whether it’s going to break the bank. Trust me, any spot on this list is a winner.

VenueBest forPriceLocation How to book
The Palace Lounge, Palace Hotel TokyoBest overall high tea in Tokyo¥¥¥¥
(from ¥8000)
Google Mapsvia TableCheck
Atrium Lounge, ANA IntercontinentalFood and food presentation¥¥¥(from ¥6000)Google Mapsvia TableCheck
The Grand Lounge, Ginza SixValue for moneyGoogle Mapsvia TableCheck
Lounge Bar Privé, Palace Hotel TokyoMature crowds, elegance¥¥¥¥
(from ¥8000)
Google Mapsvia TableCheck
Four Seasons Hotel Tokyo at OtemachiStunning Views¥¥¥¥ (from ¥8,800)Google Mapsvia TableCheck
Lounge Tokyo Le MuseeStunning pâtisserie¥¥¥¥
(from ¥8500)
Google Mapsvia TableCheck
The Tokyo Edition, ToranomonViews and modern vibes¥¥¥¥ (from ¥8500)Google Mapsvia TableCheck
Le Jardin, Hotel ChinzansoAuthentic English tea¥¥¥¥
(from ¥7,000)
Google Mapsvia Official Website
EVOLTA il cielo, Ginza MitsuiItalian cuisine high tea¥¥
(from ¥4950)
Google Mapsvia TableCheck
Manhattan, InterContinental Tokyo BayFrench cuisine high tea¥¥¥¥
(from ¥7500)
Google Mapsvia TableCheck
The Café by Aman TokyoForest like vibes¥¥¥
(from ¥5820)
Google Mapsvia TableCheck
Best high tea in Tokyo

The Palace Lounge, Palace Hotel Tokyo – Best overall high tea in Tokyo

High tea at Palace Lounge Tokyo - Image Credit - The Palace Lounge

This is the fanciest High Tea I’ve had in Tokyo, hands down. The place screams luxury, and they’ve got some legit artistry going on with Wajima lacquerware. It’s all about harmony with nature and celebrating traditional Japanese colours.
They’ve revamped their Afternoon Tea to mark their 10th anniversary. The lacquerware they use is a masterpiece on its own, created by Akito Akagi, a world-renowned Wajima lacquer artist based in Wajima City, Ishikawa Prefecture.

I tried their autumn menu, and let me tell you, it was like having a beautiful Japanese landscape right on my table. From pear mousse to chestnut mélange Chantilly, the sweets are a knockout. They even get some of their Japanese sweets from a special shop in Nara.

The savoury items are just as impressive. Think mushrooms, squash, and even a jamon serrano and dried persimmon salad with truffle. Yeah, it’s as good as it sounds.

The matcha is top-notch, and they serve it in a beautiful bowl that’s a work of art in itself.

Price: At ¥8000 per person, it’s definitely on the pricey side. But for a 2.5-hour experience of this calibre, it’s worth every yen, especially given that you are overlooking the Imperial Palace.

If you want the ultimate High Tea experience in Tokyo, this is it. Just make sure to book in advance, and get ready for a tea experience you won’t forget.

Atrium Lounge, ANA Intercontinental Tokyo – Best for high tea food

You’re in a lobby that feels like a mini-city, complete with water features, plants, and natural light streaming in. It’s buzzing but in a chill way. This is where you want to be to catch up with friends or just hang out. It’s perfect for a couple’s night out, especially if you’re here for the high tea.

For the vibe, they’ve got live piano music. Different times on different days, but it’s a nice touch.

Keep it smart casual. Guys, leave the tank tops and flip-flops at home.

I went for their Halloween-themed tea, and let me tell you, it was a blast. Again, this menu changes all the time, but the general idea is the same, so you can expect similar items and basically excellent quality.

At the Atrium Lounge, they go all out with the theme. Think pumpkin and white chocolate mousse, mummy macarons, and even a bamboo charcoal cream puff. And it was all not just visually appealing but absolute perfection taste wise. The savoury stuff keeps up the Halloween vibe, too. There’s a pumpkin and bacon quiche and even a ‘bloody bat’—which is way tastier than it sounds.

You get free drinks for 90 minutes. That includes seasonal drinks and various teas and coffees. They welcomed us with an ice rooibos cream orange drink that was spectacular. Just a quick FYI, there are no alcoholic drinks on the afternoon tea menu. Any booze you want, you need to pay for extra.

Ok, let’s talk price: ¥7500 per person. It’s not the cheapest, but considering you’re in a high-end spot with unlimited drinks, it’s pretty fair.

Tip: If you book online, you sometimes get a really nice discount. I booked our high tea via Tablecheck and paid ¥6800 per person. Also their upcoming seasonal tea can be booked for just ¥6000 per person.

The Grand Lounge, Ginza Six – Best high tea value for money

This place is all about class and style, exactly what you’d expect from Ginza. Sitting on the 13th floor, you get an awesome view of the Tokyo skyline. Whether you’re on a date, with friends, or even having a work meeting, this place fits the bill. As always, I came here with my husband to have a cool date night.

The service was top-notch. The staff even offered to take a photo of us, which was a nice touch.

I went for their Festival Afternoon Tea, but they usually have multiple options, and the menu changes all the time. Their Halloween and Christmas teas are especially cool. I mean, who wouldn’t love “bloody macaroons” or a Christmas tree made out of food?

For the menu, both the sweets and the savoury are impeccable. For festive high tea, think snow-covered Pistachio Mont Blanc X-mas trees and snowmen but made out of fromage blanc mousse. Their famous strawberry mille-feuille is also a hit. You’ve got everything from seafood mousse to roast beef on the savoury side. It’s a full-on feast.

Here’s the kicker, for drinks you get a 3-hour window, and you can pick from over 15 types of drinks. They’ve even got TWG, which is some of the best tea you can get.

Price: It’s Ginza, so it’s not cheap, although surprisingly affordable at ¥5200 per person. For 3 hours of unlimited luxury, it’s completely worth it. And I’ve got to say, this was one of my favourite high tea experiences in Tokyo too. Reservation in advance is a must.

Lounge Bar Privé, Palace Hotel Tokyo – Best for mature elegance

PAlace Hotel Tokyo Lounge Bar Price - afternoon tea terre et mer - Image credit: Palace Lounge Hotel Tokyo

This place is for grown-ups who want a private, elegant experience. The leaf-shaped counter and terrace seating give it a laid-back yet upscale feel. Just a heads-up, it’s best for folks over 20, and they have some age restrictions during different times of the day.

The service is top-tier, and they make sure to keep things exclusive and comfortable. You’ll need to make a reservation by 5:00 pm the day before you plan to go, and the tea service is limited to 10 meals per day.

The Afternoon Tea here is called “Terre et Mer,” which means “earth and sea.” It’s crafted by Chef Kei Kojima, and it’s as fancy as it sounds.
The chef uses fresh veggies from his hometown of Kamakura, so you know it’s going to be good. Expect unique items like kiwi layered with jelly and almond biscuit. On the savoury side, they’ve got things like pizza sliders and seasonal vegetable sauce. Oh, and let’s not forget desserts using chocolate from Le Chocolat Alain Ducasse. Yum!

Your tea time lasts 2.5 hours, and you’ve got options. The base price is ¥8,000, but for an extra ¥2,400, you can add a glass of champagne to your experience. You should book this in advance!

Four Seasons Hotel Tokyo at Otemachi – Best for stunning views

Four seasons high tea, shine muscat. Image credit: Fourt Seasons hotel

This is High Tea with a view. You’ll be sitting sky-high, enjoying live music and a vista of Tokyo that’s hard to beat. Plus, it’s super convenient, located right in the heart of Otemachi, near major transit hubs and the Imperial Palace.

At the Lounge wthin the Four Seasons Hotel you will enjoy 90 minutes of free-flow, so you can sip and savour to your heart’s content, from classics like English Breakfast and Earl Grey to unique offerings like Maron Tea Latte. On weekends, they feature SABOE Tea.

We went for their autumn themed afternoon tea which is their shine muscat. Much like any other afternoon tea in Tokyo, the theme is ever-changing. It’s a colourful and imaginative menu that plays with grape flavours.

From pork ham sandwiches with pumpkin cream to aubergine bavarois with zuwai crab, the savoury items are as inventive as they are delicious. On the sweet side, think pear and Japanese pear mousse, Darjeeling pound cake, and Kyoho grape shortcake. It’s a lineup that’s as classy as the venue.

The high tea at the Four Season is on the pricier side, as expected, with weekdays at ¥8,800 and weekends at ¥9,800. But for the view, the ambiance, and the food, it’s well worth it. Don’t forget that you need to book online in advance.

Lounge Tokyo Le Musee – Best for stunning pâtisserie

Fantastic purple high tea in Tokyo: Image credit Lounge Tokyo Le Musee

Imagine having High Tea in an art museum. That’s what Le Musee is all about. The place has a light gray colour scheme inspired by museums, and the sweets are set up like little pieces of art. You can even kick back and enjoy some real art in their lounge space.

When enjoying high tea here, you’ll need to keep an eye on the clock because they’ve got a 105-minute table limit.

Their current special is the “Fantastic Purple” afternoon tea, which is what we went for as well. We didn’t specifically plan for it, but apparently we were told it was extended due to super popular demand. Turns out, Tokyo loves purple! It’s available for a limited time, and let’s just say the menu is as creative as the name suggests. They are also running the Pink Ribbon afternoon tea on special days and previously they had an all-orange afternoon tea that looked happy and cute.

When it comes to sweets, think work of art calibre. We’re talking lollipop and lime & strawberry guimauve, no-bake cheesecake, and even a sweet potato and blackberry Mont Blanc. It’s a lineup that would make any dessert lover swoon. But it’s not just the taste, it’s the way it all looks like.

For savourys, they’ve got some unique items like A5 Wagyu beef and honey mustard flavoured salmon tartar. It’s a fancy spread but the main attraction is their “Noomy”(teddy bear). On the basic afternoon tea you will get a Noomy dressed as a unicorn.

For drinks, you will enjoy a lavender coconut soda as a welcome drink to go with the purple theme and have a wide selection of original coffee and 9 types of teas, with free refills to boot.

The pricing is dynamic, meaning it changes depending on when you go. It ranges from ¥8500 to ¥12700, plus a 10% service charge. They even have an optional “Noomy Plan” for an extra ¥2200 that includes two teddy bears. Yes, you read that right, edible teddy bears.

LOUANGE TOKYO Le Musee is for those who love the finer things in life but also appreciate a dash of whimsy. Just make sure to double-check the prices before you go, they can vary depending on the day and time. Reservations are a must, and I do suggest to plan for weekdays for the best price.

The Tokyo Edition, Toranomon – Best for views and modern vibes

Chocolate high tea Lobby Bar The Tokyo Edition Toranomon

This isn’t just any lobby bar; it’s a gathering spot for both locals and guests. Overlooking Tokyo Bay and the Tokyo Tower, the atmosphere is both open and intimate. The design, a blend of Kengo Kuma’s architecture (SunnyHills Aoyama) and Ian Schrager’s “jungle in the sky” vision, makes it one of the most scenic spots in the hotel.

We went for the Minimal Chocolate Afternoon Tea,’ available from September 4 to November 20. In collaboration with Minimal – Bean to Bar Chocolate, it’s an afternoon tea experience that is as much about the aroma and flavour of cacao as it is about the food.

The experience starts with three mini chocolate bars labelled NUTTY, FRUITY, and SAVORY. Then, you can indulge in an array of chocolate-infused savouries and sweets, from Smoked Duck Focaccia and Salmon Marinade Toast to Fresh Chocolate Gateau and Chocolate Mousse. To top it all off, the tea selection is exquisite, including an option for Ruinart Blanc de Blancs champagne. It’s a feast for all senses and a deep dive into the flavours and aromas of quality cacao.

While the focus here is on the chocolate, don’t overlook their bespoke cocktails and unique selection of spirits. They add another layer to what’s already an indulgent afternoon.

When it comes to the price, I’m not going to lie, I feel this is quite high for what’s on offer. A high tea here will set you back ¥8500 or ¥13000 to include a Glass of Ruinart Blanc de Blancs. If you’re coming here for the views and novelty of an exclusive and expensive experience in Toranomon, then it’s completely worth it. This is not for those who are trying to spend sensibly. Make sure to book in advance as reservations are a must.

Le Jardin, Hotel Chinzanso – Best for authentic, classic English high tea

Le Jardin isn’t just a place for great afternoon tea, it’s a quiet and peaceful spot in the middle of busy Tokyo. The place is surrounded by beautiful gardens, making it feel like an escape from the city. As the pioneer in serving authentic English afternoon tea in the city, it offers an elegant setting replete with European furniture and surrounded by lush gardens. The tea includes homemade scones, cream, and a good variety of teas. They even have a fancier evening tea option with champagne, appetizers, and big portions of roast beef.

On top of all that, Le Jardin has a special feature called the “Tokyo Sea of Clouds.” This is a cool light display in their garden that you can see at any time. It’s made to look like a cloud sea and the colours change with the seasons.

Le Jardin provides two distinct tea experiences. Their traditional afternoon tea is a delightful blend of seasonal ingredients and classics, featuring original homemade scones and clotted cream. For those seeking something more indulgent, the evening high tea comes with champagne, a three-tiered selection of hors d’oeuvres, and generous servings of roast beef.

The afternoon tea includes a well-curated mix of sweet and savoury items although I do have to say, this is very similar to what you’d get in England. If you are a traditionalist, then you will enjoy this.

For me, I prefer something which is more innovative and Tokyo. Having said all that, there is an excellent reason to come here for afternoon tea. Le Jardin goes above and beyond by offering a unique 2-in-1 experience with its “Tokyo Sea of Clouds.” The garden is illuminated by 1,000 light bulbs, and the shading lights that colour the sea of clouds changes with the seasons, creating a magical setting. It’s only available to those who are guests at the hotel or make use of the facilities so what better excuse to order an afternoon tea?

Starting at ¥7,000 for the afternoon tea, it’s a premium experience but worth every yen for the quality and ambiance and the entrance to the hotel’s special garden. To book, contact the hotel directly.

EVOLTA il cielo, Ginza Mitsui – Best for Italian cuisine high tea

Evolta IlCielo - Afternoon tea - Photo Credit: Evolta IlCielo

E’VOLTA il cielo in Ginza Mitsui is an Italian chef-driven venue that takes afternoon tea to luxurious heights, limiting the experience to just five groups per day. The setting itself blends modern design with traditional Japanese elements, creating an atmosphere where “classy” takes on a whole new meaning. The best part? You will have a stunning view over Tokyo from “il cielo”.

In terms of service, be prepared for upscale elegance, but note that there’s a dress code and reservations for specific tables aren’t allowed. The menu, crafted under the watchful eye of their pastry chef, is a feast of both savoury and sweet. Think Amaretto-scented fruit zuppa and Strawberry spuma to start, followed by savouries like Butternut pumpkin panna cotta with hot spring egg and Hitachi beef and eggplant moussaka.

For those with a sweet tooth, there are thyme Earl Grey scones, Black sesame canelé, and a Cassis and marron tart. As for drinks, it’s an all-you-can-sip affair until 4:15 pm, featuring their own Evolta original roasted coffee, the highest quality Mlesna Tea, and a variety of herbal and Japanese teas.

This is the most modest of prices for high tea in Tokyo on this list at ¥4950 per person. A reservation is a must as the high tea here is limited to 5 groups per day.

Manhattan, InterContinental Tokyo Bay – Best for French cuisine high tea

Intercontinental Manhattan Afternoon Tea - Photo Credit: Intercontinental Manhattan

Manhattan at InterContinental Tokyo Bay combines the best of New York Grill and French cuisines in a setting that boasts panoramic views of Tokyo Bay and the Rainbow Bridge.

On the drinks front, expect free refills on a broad range of beverages, including four types of coffee, iced coffee, iced café ale, iced tea, as well as various kinds of Japanese, classic, herbal, and flavoured teas.

The menu is a colourful showcase of seasonal ingredients, featuring unique dishes like Pumpkin Crème Brulee, Ratatouille and Spear Squid Quiche, and Halloween-Style Mini Burgers. On the sweet side, you’ll find a range of petit desserts like Purple Sweet Potato Mont Blanc and Mousse Framboise-Cassis. Special scones like Chocolate Scone and Pumpkin Scone round out the offerings.

On weekdays, the menu is ¥7500 whereas on weekends it’s ¥8700. Want the venue but not the high tea? I’ve got you. You can actually book a free flowing drinks course with hors d’oeuvre only with a guaranteed stunning view for just ¥4950.

The Café by Aman Tokyo – Best for forest-like vibes

Cafe Aman Afternoon Tea - Photo Credit Cafe Aman

Imagine sipping tea while overlooking a lush, man-made forest in the heart of Tokyo. That’s what The Café by Aman offers. They’ve got over 200 types of plants, and you can hear water trickling as you sit back and enjoy your tea. The experience is limited to 1 hour and 30 minutes from your reservation time, so it’s not a place to linger for too long. But it’s a unique oasis in the city, especially if you’re into nature.

They offer seasonal sets, and their Halloween Foret Dessert is a big hit which is what we went for. It’s playful, cute, and perfectly in line with the Halloween spirit. But I do have to say, unlike other high tea in Tokyo, this is on the smaller side. You will still leave feeling full but price/quantity/design, others, win the game.

The sweets include everything from white chocolate cream choux to pomegranate and orange jelly. On the savoury side, the details may vary, but you can expect an assortment that’s as satisfying as it is beautiful.
You can pick from a variety of coffees and teas like Darjeeling, Assam, Earl Grey, and even Iced Earl Grey. The options are plentiful.

At ¥5820, it’s not the cheapest option out there, but it’s definitely in the more affordable category. In terms of quantity, there are other places where you might get more bang for your buck. But for the location and setting, it’s got a charm of its own. The Café by Aman is all about the atmosphere. The food is tasty, but what really sets it apart is the chance to enjoy High Tea in a forest-like setting right in the middle of the city.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does Japan have afternoon tea?

Yes, Japan does offer afternoon tea, although it’s not a traditional Japanese custom. The concept of afternoon tea was imported, much like in many other countries, but it has been embraced and adapted to local tastes.
Many luxury hotels, cafes, and some traditional Japanese tea houses offer various forms of afternoon tea, often with a mix of Western and Japanese flavours. For example, you might find a tiered stand that features scones and clotted cream alongside Japanese sweets like mochi or matcha-flavoured pastries. Some places offer seasonal afternoon tea menus that incorporate local, seasonal ingredients. There are also venues that provide a fusion experience, blending elements of traditional Japanese tea ceremonies with the British afternoon tea custom.

What are the best tea to serve at high tea?

The types of tea served at high tea can vary depending on the theme, the accompanying foods, and personal preferences. In Tokyo, most places offer a variety of teas on the menu to pick from. You usually get unlimited tea with your afternoon tea and you can try a wider variety of teas with your food.

Black Teas

English Breakfast: A strong, full-bodied tea that pairs well with hearty foods.
Darjeeling: Known as the “Champagne of teas,” it has a floral aroma and delicate flavour.
Assam: A strong tea with a malty flavour, great for cutting through the richness of cream and buttery foods.
Earl Grey: Flavoured with bergamot, it has a distinct aroma and pairs well with both sweet and savoury items. Great with a dash of milk.
Ceylon: A brisk and citrusy tea, great for cleansing the palate.

Green Teas

Sencha: A Japanese green tea that is more neutral.
Jasmine: A floral tea that goes well with both sweet and savoury, but particularly good with desserts.
Matcha: A powdered green tea that can be served as a traditional tea or used in lattes and desserts.

Herbal and Other Teas

Chamomile: Known for its calming effects, it’s a good choice for those looking for a caffeine-free option.
Mint: Peppermint or spearmint teas are refreshing and can aid digestion.
Rooibos: A South African herbal tea that is naturally caffeine-free and has a nutty, sweet flavor.
Chai: A spiced tea that can be served with or without milk. It pairs well with spicy and aromatic foods.

White Teas

White Peony (Bai Mudan): A light, floral tea that pairs well with delicate foods like seafood or cucumber sandwiches.
Silver Needle: A premium white tea with a subtle, sweet flavour and aroma.
Oolong Teas
Ti Kuan Yin: A Chinese oolong tea with a floral, creamy flavour.
Wuyi Rock: A darker oolong with a toasty, smoky flavour.

What is high tea called high tea?

The term “high tea” can be somewhat misleading, especially since it conjures images of a formal, luxurious event often enjoyed in the afternoon with fine china, scones, and finger sandwiches. However, the origins of high tea are quite different and more humble than what many people imagine today. High tea originated in the working-class communities of Britain during the 19th century. Unlike “afternoon tea,” which was a leisurely affair enjoyed by the upper classes in the afternoon, high tea was a more substantial meal intended to sustain those who had been working all day. It was typically consumed between 5 pm and 7 pm, essentially serving as an evening meal.
The term high in high tea is believed to come from the kind of table it was traditionally served on. Unlike afternoon tea, which was typically served on low tables like a coffee table while people lounged in armchairs, high tea was served at a dining table, which was higher. The “high” table was more conducive to a full meal, which included meat dishes, bread, and vegetables, in addition to tea.
Today, the term “high tea” is often used interchangeably with “afternoon tea,” especially in the United States and in places outside the UK. However, purists will point out that the two are different: afternoon tea is a lighter meal with tea, scones, and finger sandwiches, intended to fill the gap between lunch and dinner, whereas high tea is a more hearty affair, closer to what Americans would consider dinner.

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Cory from You Could Travel entering Senso-ji in Tokyo, Japan

Cory Varga – Cory Varga is a licensed travel agent and published travel writer. Her main expertise is writing about Japan, where she happily lives with her husband.
Cory published her first book on Japanese customs and manners because she’s obsessed with everything Japan and wants to share more about the local customs with the rest of the world.
While Cory has visited hundreds of destinations and has lived in 7 different countries, Japan remains her favorite place to live and write about. Cory is multilingual.


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