paper & tokyo - baishinka... August 25, 2011
Above: Gift wrapping the Baishinka way. Below: Beautiful windows throughout.
The Baiten is where the sweetest gifts can be purchased.
Seasonal sweets come packaged in gift boxes and ready for giving.
The entrance to Baishinka and the garden.
Beautiful details throughout.
Bite-sized beauties (Hitokuchi-gashi) made from local and seasonal produce.
I covet this cabinet, I do!
‘Suiteki’ (Water droppers) designed by Shinichiro Ogata.
Inside Baishinka’s Sabo.
The communal table and garden view from inside the Sabo.
There are beautiful antique pieces everywhere. This was one of my favourites.
The sliding door to the Sabo.
More amazing garden views.
The street entrance.
The gallery space with many of Ogata’s designs.
This stone is Baishinka’s way of saying ‘no entry’. Good thing I didn’t step over it!
Remember the amazing Tokyo tea house I blogged about called ori HIGASHIYA? You know, the one with the amazing folded paper feature wall? It was stunning but this Tokyo tea house I recently visited called Baishinka REALLY took my breath away! Both are the beautiful creations of Shinichiro Ogata from Simplicity in Japan.
Finding this place was a bit tricky and that’s because it’s tucked away in a residential Tokyo neighbourhood. Actually the property was once a private dwelling but it has since been transformed into this truly remarkable tea house (Sabo), wagashiya (sweets shop), gallery and restaurant. The Japanese garden that surrounds the property is picture perfect and can be admired from every room inside the house. I especially loved the plum trees – they were the inspiration for the name Baishinka meaning ‘the heart of the plum’.
There are so many reasons to love Baishinka. First is the beautiful Sabo. It’s the room behind the large wooden sliding door where delicious food and drink are meticulously prepared and served throughout the day. Our friend Ayako ordered for Matt and I the most pure and health-giving Japanese tea. I’d never had anything like it before. We also enjoyed Hitokuchi-gashi (bite-sized sweets). We sat, we ate, we drank and soaked in the views. This place is really something.
Another thing I love about Baishinka is the Baiten. It’s the place to go to buy beautifully packaged sweets. Baishinka offers the most colourful and delicious range of Jō namagashi – a moist and fresh sweet inspired by the seasons, and usually reserved for special tea ceremonies. They honestly look too good to eat! But I did eat them and they were delicious! Amazingly at night the Baiten area disappears (thanks to moveable and removable fixtures) and turns into a hallway, leading guests from the Sabo to the restaurant at night. Oh yes, did I mention the restaurant? Yakumo Saryo comes to life at night when Baishinka is ready for its nights rest.
The highlight for me was the gallery area. On display was a selection of Ogata’s homewares collection. Is there anything this man can’t design?! The space also hosts a series of small exhibitions throughout the year. I seriously could not take my eyes off those bronze ‘Suiteki’ – Water droppers (image above). I think they are used for adding drops of water to an inkstone, maybe? Yet another thing to add to my wishlist. Ooooh how the list grows!
Baishinka is one of those places that makes me want to move to Tokyo.
Beautiful interiors and product aside; this place offers a truly peaceful escape where stillness and quiet contemplation (two of my favourite things btw :) are possible, even amongst friends.
3-4-7 Yakumo, Meguro-ku, Tokyo.
images © upon a fold